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ROANOKE — The Roanoke-Benson School Board has hired Tom Welsh as its new superintendent and principal at Sowers Elementary. He will replace Superintendent Rohn Peterson, who is retiring at the end of June.

Welsh will start July 1.

The board has been reviewing applications and conducting interviews since last fall. R-B Board President Brad Sauder said the board interviewed five candidates and then narrowed the list to three.

“All three were strong candidates,” Sauder said, adding the candidates were impressed with R-B facilities after touring the schools.

In a letter to school staff and parents about the hiring, the board stated, “This is the most important decision a school board can make, and we are confident that Mr. Welsh can build on R-B's long history of providing high quality learning opportunities for our students. He brings with him a broad background in education.”

Welsh graduated from Bradley University with a bachelor of science and master of arts in educational administration and earned his superintendent certification from Western Illinois University.

He was principal in the Peoria Public School system at Garfield Primary and Loucks Middle School, and Ridgeview Elementary in Dunlap, Dunlap Middle School and Dunlap High School. He was a high school teacher at Illinois Valley Central High School in Chillicothe and St. Teresa High School in Decatur.

He was named the David Helman 2015 Principal of the year by ELITE, a community outreach program in Peoria, and won an award of excellence from the Illinois State Board of Education as part of the “Those Who Excel” recognition program.

He currently is executive director of high schools for Peoria public schools.

The board signed a three-year contract with Welsh. 

Peterson is ending his 12th year in the district.

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