By Terry Dean
The District 97 school board on Tuesday hired Mike Michowski and Todd Fitzgerald as the next principals for Brooks and Julian middle schools, respectively.
The board voted unanimously for both candidates during their regular meeting Tuesday evening. Both will officially start in on July 1. Fitzgerald, 39, comes from S.E. Gross Middle School in Brookfield where he serves as principal. Fitzgerald was not present at Tuesday's meeting. Michowski was present. He has been at Prarie Hill School in Beloit for 13 years. Fitzgerald and Michowski will each earn a one-year salary of $120,000.
D97 Supt. Albert Roberts praised both candidates, describing each as "good listeners and collaborative leaders," qualities each school community was looking for, and that would "lead our middle schools to a new future."
Michkowski said he has longed admired Oak Parkfrom afar; he referred to it as a "long-distance love affair." He also worked at School District 170 in Chicago Heights as principal and before that behavioral coordinator. Fitzgerald was a social studies teacher Hauser Junior High in Riverside and at Westmont Junior High Schoolas an assistant principal before joining Gross Middle School.
Peter Barber, president of the D97 school board, praised the new principals and said the board was "very impressed" with both.
The board Tuesday also hired a new assistant superintendent for human resources. Joanne Schochat takes over for Trish Carlson, who is retiring June 30. Schochat comes from Troy School District 30-C, holding the positions of director of special programs and assistant superintendent for HR. She also held to title of general counsel for theTroy school district in addition to overseeing its HR department. She'll also serve as general counsel for D97 on $150,000 salary. The three new hires were signed to two-year contracts.