DANVILLE - After nearly two years at Northeast Elementary Magnet School's helm, Kathy Houpt
has something new on her
principal since August 2006, recently took over as director of secondary education, a new position created under a $1 million restructuring plan to boost instruction and student achievement at Danville High School
new duties are aligning the school's curriculum and instruction with Illinois learning standards and state tests and developing on-going professional development opportunities for staff.
"I love it!"
, who has been at her
post the past two weeks.
"I love a challenge, and this is certainly is a challenge."
Danville school board members approved Houpt's appointment in late April.
They also tapped DeMarko Wright - an administrative intern who becomes Garfield Elementary School's
principal in August - to lead balanced-calendar Northeast through the end of its school year on June 4.
Superintendent Nanette Mellen said Houpt
is working under her current 205-day contract, but the district will pay her for a few additional days at her current rate.
Kathy Houpt, formerly principal of the Northeast Elementary Magnet School, is the new director of secondary education for Danville High School.
As the restructuring committee developed the plan and discussed the need for the new position, Mellen and others thought Houpt
was the ideal candidate.
"Everything that's been important to her in her education and career is what she'll be addressing," Mellen said, pointing out Houpt earned her doctorate in education a year ago.
taught middle school in Danville for 10 years, then left to work for textbook publisher Harcourt
for 19 years.
did several things at the company, including curriculum development, which required her
to study K-12 curriculum and provide professional development with teachers throughout the country.
eventually returned to Danville as the district's curriculum coordinator, which she
did for 1Â½ years.
served as North Ridge Middle School's
assistant principal for a year, before moving to Northeast
"Taking this job was easy," Houpt
"Leaving (Northeast) was the hard part.
I miss the kids so much ... and the staff and parents.
I really got to know a lot of the parents, and I'll miss the opportunity to work with them."
Mellen said it was important for Houpt
to begin her new assignment immediately.
"Those teachers will really get to know the students and be able to support them," Houpt
said, adding each teaching team will share a planning period to plan integrated units and talk about student needs.
Mellen said Houpt
has already realigned the ninth-grade math curriculum.
Once scheduling is addressed, Houpt
will turn her
attention to professional development, which will kick off this summer.
Freshmen House teachers' training will be geared toward team teaching.
"For the district as a whole, one of the things we want to focus on is reading across the curriculum," Houpt
said, adding that's designed to help students improve their reading and critical thinking skills.\