Two new administrators will be joining the District 58 team, both with a demonstrated commitment to putting students first.
The District 58 Board of Education Jan. 13 approved the appointments of Jessica Stewart as Assistant Superintendent for Special Services, and James Eichmiller as Director of Innovative Learning and Technology. Eichmiller will begin in his role April 7, taking over for former Director of Technology Scott Meech. Stewart will replace Terrence Martin, who is retiring after 10 years in District 58, and she will begin in her role July 1.
“James and Jessica are truly outstanding individuals with extensive knowledge and experience, a collaborative approach, and a demonstrated commitment to putting students first. I am confident that they will be wonderful additions to the District 58 team,” said District 58 Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli.
Stewart comes to District 58 from DeKalb Community Unit School District 428, where she has spent the past seven years as a district administrator, most recently as Director of Student Services. In her current role, Stewart oversees all aspects of the district’s student support service programs, including special education programs. Prior to her role as an administrator in District 428, Stewart taught special education students at the middle school level for eight years. She earned master’s degrees in educational administration and in learning disabilities from Northern Illinois University, and bachelor’s degrees in learning disabilities and in elementary education from Monmouth College.
“My parents are both educators and I grew up never doubting that I wanted to follow in their footsteps. I cannot think of a more motivating and exciting career,” Stewart said. “I see potential in every student and enjoy working with teams to design ways to maximize student learning. There are so many more tools at our fingertips than there have ever been before to help all kinds of learners. I enjoy working with families and teams to figure out what supports work best to unleash that potential.”
Stewart said that during her years of education, she has experienced a systems movement toward rigor and expectation for every student.
“This equity is a simple concept but critical for creating connectedness and fluidity across all of our student programs for every kind of learner. Technology enhances this access and allows students to achieve success in ways they may not have been able to 10 or 15 years ago. The challenge is always finding that ‘right’ amount of support to help our students succeed, and I find inspiration when our students persevere,” she said.
Stewart said she cannot wait to get to know the community, families, students and staff that make up Downers Grove.
“I can already sense the strong pride that exists for what District 58 has accomplished. I’m excited to be a part of it all and hope that I am a familiar face in town by the time school starts in the fall,” she said.
Eichmiller is currently the Director of Instructional Technology for Forest Park School District 91, where he recently deployed Google Apps for Education and 1:1 devices across all nine grades and oversaw the enhancement of the wireless network to support additional student devices. A Google Certified Trainer and Google Certified Teacher, Eichmiller also collaborated with staff members on innovative uses of technology in the classroom. Prior to his time in District 91, he served as an instructional technology specialist in Lockport and in North Carolina, and he began his career in education as a mathematics teacher. Eichmiller earned his master’s degree in instructional technology from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., and his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Eastern Illinois University.
Eichmiller said District 58 is already a leader in educational technology, and he looks forward to collaborating with teachers to help students continue to meet and exceed their goals.
“We live in a technology-rich world, and most teachers and students use technology tools as a part of their daily lives. I believe an essential part of our work is to merge technology with instruction to the point where technology use is a natural, seamless ever-present occurrence that is integrated into the curriculum efficiently and effectively,” Eichmiller said.
He added that the current infusion of technology into education has allowed many educators to start to redesign their instructional approach, and he is inspired by the movement toward student-centered, student-led learning.
“More and more classrooms have students working independently and collaboratively on projects that matter to them and matter to the world. They are working at their own pace and successfully finding and selecting the resources necessary to support their learning. They are practicing good digital citizenship and becoming contributing members of a global society,” Eichmiller said. “All the while, the teacher is not only facilitating this work, but also activating the students’ curiosity and motivating them. I look forward to the challenge of helping teachers make this digital transition where students can take ownership in their learning, which I believe is essential to success.”
—Story provided by District 58
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