VILLA GROVE — Superintendent Mary Ann Manos believes she has found "two of the top young administrators in the state" to lead Villa Grove schools.
The bonus: Their hires will save the district 40 percent in administrative costs next school year.
Steve Killion Sr. has been hired as principal for grades K-12 and Bobby Beck has signed on as the district's dean of students. Both job titles are new to Villa Grove, which in 2014-15 will combine two principal jobs into one and add the dean position as part of a cost-cutting plan district-wide.
"This will be the strongest administrative team this school has ever seen," Manos predicted.
Of 70 applicants for the two positions, the superintendent said Killion and Beck stood out for their enthusiasm, work ethic and personalities.
That this will be the first administrative position for both veteran teachers doesn't worry Manos.
"They are going to really amplify the district," she said. "Magic is going to happen."
— Killion teaches junior high language arts and social sciences in the Cowden-Herrick school district. He has spent nine years teaching and coaching at every age level and also brings special education experience to the job.
"I'm a mover. I am in the hallways moving around," Killion said of his administrative style. "The best administrators are ones that are visible."
A married, 41-year-old father of two young sons, Killion's priorities include improving test scores and raising the enthusiasm for learning.
"Everyone should want to come to school: students, teachers and administrators included," he said.
— Beck has spent eight years as a teacher and coach in the district. Currently a teacher at Villa Grove Elementary, his promotion will have him working directly with students, serving as a liaison to families and the community, and handling disciplinary issues.
The 31 year-old Atwood resident has a "stellar reputation for being an educator and a helper," Manos said.
Although he'll miss the classroom, the married father of two believes he can have a larger impact through administration. "I want to get the best Villa Grove that we can get," Beck said. "I think I have a good handle on the expectations of the district."
Mark your calendars
WHAT: Meet and greet with new administrators
WHEN: 3-5 p.m., April 28
WHERE: Villa Grove School cafeteria
WHO: Students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to attend