Mundelein schools welcome students back to many changes
Construction workers Jason Fell, left and Al Fell use sledge hammers to drive in forms before they can pour the floor of the new pool. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 23, 2012 2:09PM
MUNDELEIN — How schools in Mundelein look — the buildings and personnel — are two of the most pronounced changes as the new school year begins.
Cosmetic changes, starting with new room numbers, will be immediately discernible inside Mundelein High School when classes resume on Monday (Aug. 27).
School communications director Ron Girard led the charge to change room numbers to a more sensible system after years of being bothered by the apparent randomness of numbers created by building additions.
Two-digit numbers were often found next to three-digit numbers, Girard explained, or there were similarly numbered rooms, such as A120 and 120A in the same building.
Faculty and upperclassmen had become used to the system, but new students and the rest of the community would get lost.
Re-numbering was a daunting task, Girard said, but he volunteered to fix the situation anyway.
“It just bugged me from a public relations point of view,” he said. “It created a bad impression.”
The building has now been divided into four wings designated by letters A, B, C and D. Room numbers will begin with the letter of its wing followed by a number.
The A wing includes English, social studies and business education classrooms, the main office and the security desk.
The B wing contains math, science and special education classrooms, as well as guidance and attendance offices.
Art and music classrooms, the auditorium, main gym, cafeteria, book and spirit stores, and the lower gym are located in the C wing.
The D wing includes the pool, world languages, industrial technology and wellness classrooms.
The new system may be confusing in the beginning, Girard admitted, but he predicted that it will be well received after the first week of school.
Additional school improvements include upgrades to the air control system, repairs to new sections of the roof, and the repairs to the domestic hot water system and cabling, which amounts $1,538,222. The improvements are funded through a successful $10 million referendum in 2011.
Seventeen new faces will be on staff in the high school, too.
“We don’t stand still here,” Superintendent Jody Ware said.
The new teachers include Christina De Vitto, wellness; Christopher Foley, English; Lauryn Funteas, science; Autumn Graef, world languages; Jacqueline Hogan, science; Mark Landuyt, English; Breanna Long, English; Candace McGuffey, world languages, Keith Pitner, music; Rebecca Reed, art; and Blair Winter, world languages.
Additional new staff members at include Alicia Brant, chair of the Special Education Department; Krysta Hamlin, psychologist; Amanda Krich, literacy coach; Barb Tegtmeier, media center; Kathleen Wainscott, instructional aide; and Brian Kisselberg is the Mundelein police liaison.
Joseph Petrella was hired as superintendent of Diamond Lake School District 76 in April to replace Roger Prosise, who retired in June.
Petrella comes to the Diamond Lake from the Gateway School District in Monroeville, Penn., where he served as superintendent since 2010. Prior to that, he was an elementary school teacher, acting superintendent and assistant superintendent.
Petrella said the focus this year will be on curriculum assessment.
“The district is poised to embark on a new era,” said Petrella, whose first day with students was Aug. 22.
Mundelein School District 75 and Fremont School District 79 will share a new English Language Learners coordinator this year.
Mytzy Rodriguez-Kufner comes to districts 75 and 79 from the Round Lake Area School District 116, where she held the same position for six years. She replaces Debbie Petric, who retired with 27 years of service to District 75, with two of those shared with District 79.
“I just think she’s going to be a marvelous addition,” District 75 superintendent Cynthia Heidorn said. “She was so excited after she was hired, she came to our International Fair that our bilingual parents advisory council hosted last May, and she brought her whole family.”
Each school in District 75 also has an additional special education teacher this year. A third district psychologist also was hired.
District 75’s first day of school is Monday. District 79 opened Aug. 22.