W. Illinois educator hired as principal for Southwest

W. Illinois educator hired as principal for Southwest

DANVILLE — A longtime educator from western Illinois will lead Southwest Elementary School next year.

The Danville school board earlier this week approved hiring Julie Deignan as the pre-K-5 school's next principal. She will step into her new position on July 1 and earn an annual salary of $70,000 plus benefits.

Deignan will succeed John Hart, who took over as the district's special education director earlier this year. Retired Principal Valerie Gilbert has been serving as interim principal since then.

Deignan has been the principal at Spoon Valley Elementary School in London Mills since 2008. Prior to that, she taught for 15 years at schools in East St. Louis, Shiloh and Charlotte, NC.

Superintendent Mark Denman said Deignan demonstrates a good knowledge of curriculum and instruction, has strong interpersonal skills and administrative experience and will be an "excellent" fit for Southwest.

On Wednesday, the board postponed making a decision on piloting a standards-based report card for K-2 students until later this month to give members more time to review the changes and their impact. Administrators said the new cards — which list specific skills in English/language arts and math that students are expected to know and replace letter ratings with number ratings — will provide students, parents and teachers with a more detailed look at whether students are exceeding, meeting or falling below learning standards.

The board couldn't muster enough votes to approve a parent pledge for elementary schools, aimed at encouraging parent involvement. Board president Bill Dobbles and board member Gina McGuire said they support the idea, but want to see it reworked so it also shows how the schools plan to step that up.

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