After dismissing music teacher and band director Bryan Reynolds earlier this week, the Rantoul Township High School administration has turned its attention to finding a full-time replacement — quickly.
"Our goal is to have a certified, qualified music instructor in the classroom on the first day of the second semester," Superintendent Scott Amerio said. "We have to see what we get as far as applicants because sometimes it is difficult to fill a position midyear."
The job was posted the morning after Reynolds was dismissed and will close Monday so administrators can conduct interviews and possibly make a decision over the holiday break.
Since Reynolds was placed on administrative leave Nov. 29, the music classes have been led by a substitute with no musical background.
"We were kind of stuck with the situation we had at the time," Amerio said. "We did the best we could, but we realize that we cannot continue down that path because that is not fair to the students to have someone that does not have a music background as a substitute."
Amerio said the substitute has done a good job watching the students and keeping them where they need to be.
"They haven't been doing a whole lot of music instruction, but some of the classes have continued to play music," Amerio said. "We've also tried to get someone into the chorus class to play the piano so the students could sing."
As for the RTHS bands, Amerio said the time since the suspension has been a "major struggle" because it was a busy time for students, who performed in several parades as well as at Barnes & Noble and for "CI Living."
Amerio said they were able to get through that rough patch with having to cancel only the winter concert performance.
"The band director is such an instrumental part, that we couldn't figure out a way to run that without him," Amerio said. "We're at a point now where those type of performances are kind of at a standstill, but hopefully if we can get someone in here the next couple of weeks, we can just continue along and not miss a beat."
Amerio hopes that getting back to business as usual will help students and staff overcome a difficult situation. Reynolds was charged with two felony counts of distributing explicit materials to a minor following allegations made by a former student.
"How do we overcome this as a school and as a community?" Amerio said. "There are a lot of people hurting. There are students that are definitely hurting. Staff is hurting, and that is our responsibility — to help them overcome that."