Champaign's Edison Middle School to have new interim principal

Champaign's Edison Middle School to have new interim principal

CHAMPAIGN — Edison Middle School’s interim principal is leaving before he even got started.

Unit 4 Superintendent Judy Wiegand said she sent a letter to parents Saturday saying that Tony Howard is stepping down from his position because he’s moving out of the area. He has been with the school district for nine years and was named interim principal at Edison in early June.

His move to North Carolina was not a surprise to Wiegand, who said Howard had been looking for another job to be near his fiance.

“He had plans to leave and shared them with me at the end of the last school year,” she said.

Wiegand said Howard’s fiance had been working in Wisconsin prior to getting a job transfer to North Carolina.

“I asked him to stay,” she said of the interim principal post at Edison. “He was conflicted. It became more and more difficult as they built a house out there.”

Effective immediately, Donna Oakes-Novak, a long-time administrator in both the Champaign and Urbana school districts, will serve as Edison’s interim principal. She is the widow of the Greg Novak, a retired Unit 4 teacher and former school board member who died in March 2012.

“She retired from Urbana Middle School a few years ago. She was assistant principal there. Prior to Urbana, she was in Champaign as assistant director of special education and prior to that was a special education teacher in Unit 4,” said Wiegand.

Wiegand said Oakes-Novak was an administrator in Unit 4 for more than seven years and in District 116 for 10 years.

Edison has a staff of about 60 who are serving 660 students. School starts Wednesday.

A search for a permanent principal will begin in the fall, Wiegand said.

Among other duties while employed with Unit 4, Howard taught at Edison for five years and was an eighth-grade basketball coach there.

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Unafraid wrote on August 17, 2014 at 10:08 am

Something about this story seems a bit off. A guy that has worked for 9 years finally gets the chance to be in charge of a school and leaves days before it starts?? Hmmm. I'm not buying it. Something else happened. We may never know the truth but what I just read sounds like a PR representative's approach to hide the truth. Maybe it's none of my business, but it is hard to believe this to be true considering this district's history. Speaking of that, this district is known for moving their principals around, maybe they just pushed him out, yeah that sounds more like it. I wonder who is next???