MINONK – Dr. Kari Rockwell will become the sixth superintendent in Fieldcrest Consolidated Unit School District No. 6. It just will not be for another five months.
Rockwell, who started July 1, will work as an assistant to Dr. Dan Oakley before he retires Dec. 30.
“Incredibly beneficial,” said Rockwell of the five months she’ll get to become acclimated to the goings on. “I do not want to come in and rock the boat. I think our time will allow me to look at the strengths and weaknesses of each school building. It’s important to get to know the kids and the staff.”
The native of Montour Falls in the northwest part of New York State arrives after a two-year stint as Principal of Kiefer School in Peoria. Prior to that, she was a principal and assistant principal at two elementary schools in Crossville, Tenn.
“Obviously, there’s new things to learn,” pointed out Rockwell. “But, my past experience has built into a solid foundation. Every school is different.”
The administrators are preparing for registration, as the online portion started Monday with the in-person version set for Aug. 1.
Rockwell lists her hobbies as reading, swimming, camping and traveling.
Her husband, Jason, is the operations director with Frontier. They have two daughters in Brooke, who recently graduated from Dunlap, will start at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa., when classes begin Sept. 23. She plans to study nursing. Molly will be junior at Fieldcrest, whose first day of student attendance is Aug. 15. The family moved into their new house on the corner of Fourth and Jefferson Streets over the Memorial Day weekend.
“It’s important to know where the district is and where the (school) board sees us going,” Rockwell said. “Trying to talk to teachers, which is not easy to do over the summer. It’s important to know the strengths of the staff and build a good program going forward.”
Rockwell, who was hired at a special board meeting on March 14, began as a teacher before she switched to the administrative side. She is certified to teach kindergarten through grade eight, as well as K-12 special education.
She noted the fact the office being on the same grounds as the high school is a big perk.
“That’s one of the reasons why I was drawn to the position,” noted Rockwell. “The superintendent’s office is right here so I’ll be able to interact with the students. My belief is you cannot produce change unless you’re in the schools.”
John Capasso was the district’s first superintendent and served from 1993 to 2001. He was followed by Michael Stagliano, Randy Vincent, Josh Olson and Oakley, who has held the job since ’13. He came to Fieldcrest after seven years at the same post in Avon, located in northwestern Fulton County, 20 miles south of Galesburg.