The District 97 school board hired Joanne Schochat last week as the district’s new assistant superintendent of human resources. Schochat comes from Troy School District 30-C, where she was director of special programs and assistant superintendent for HR. She also held the title of general counsel for the Troy school district in addition to overseeing its HR department.

The general counsel position is newly established in the district. Along with utilizing Schochat’s legal experience — she has a law degree from DePaul University — D97 hopes to save money by having someone in house who can handle day-to-day legal issues, said Supt. Albert Roberts. The district, however, will continue using their outside legal firms on certain issues.

Roberts said that some school districts often have legal counsel on staff but D97 has never had such a position. One upside in having an on-staff counsel, he said, is being able to bounce certain legal questions off that person rather than seeking outside counsel, which the district has to pay for.

A mother of two, Schochat holds a bachelor’s degree in special education from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Northern Illinois University.

She will serve as general counsel for D97 with a $150,000 salary and a two-year contract. Schochat takes over the HR duties from Trish Carlson, who is retiring June 30.

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