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URBANA — An English teacher at University Laboratory High School has been tapped as the school’s interim leader.

Elizabeth Majerus will officially replace former director Jeff Walkington on Aug. 5.

Walkington resigned for personal reasons earlier this summer, saying he planned to take a research position at the UI; Majerus joined a pool of candidates in applying for a 12-month stint as Uni’s interim leader.

Majerus was “selected for her deep knowledge of Uni, her commitment for Uni’s future and a strong sense of purpose in facilitating productive change,” UI Provost Andreas Cangellaris wrote in an email Wednesday.

A “national search for a permanent director” will launch during the fall semester, according to the email.

Majerus, who has been teaching at Uni for more than 15 years, said Wednesday that ready for the new challenge.

“I'm excited about Uni's future and honored to be leading this important transition year. I want it to be a productive year, and I want to hear from the faculty what their priorities are for this year and beyond,” she said. “I expect that focusing on the social and emotional health of students — educating the whole student, not just the scholar — will be one of our major goals. This is a conversation we've been having as a faculty.

"We need to find more school-wide ways to challenge our students academically while at the same time teaching them that it's OK to take care of themselves," she said. "I want our students to see our school as a place where they are able to care for and advocate for themselves, knowing that they'll be heard and supported when they do.

“One of my major goals as interim director is to plan professional development activities that will be genuinely useful to the faculty, and in that I will also be seeking input from teachers on their needs and priorities.”

News-Gazette

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Lyndsay Jones is a reporter covering education at The News-Gazette. Her email is ljones@news-gazette, and you can follow her on Twitter (@__lyndsayjones).