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By MATT DANIELS
Rantoul Press assistant editor
The next athletic director at Rantoul Township High School will also serve as the school’s dean of students.
The RTHS school board approved the measure by a 7-0 vote at its monthly meeting Jan. 14, along with giving new job titles to two current RTHS administrators.
The school currently has Allen Jones Sr. serving as the athletic director in an interim position for the second semester of the school year for the second straight year.
Former RTHS athletic director Joe Bendoraitis — who also was the RTHS head football coach for the 2012 season after he was hired by the board in mid-May — resigned in mid-December for family and personal reasons. The board unanimously approved a resignation agreement with Bendoraitis at the board meeting.
Whoever the school board decides to hire as its athletic director/dean of students for the 2013-14 school year — RTHS Superintendent Scott Amerio has previously said he would ideally like to hire one either in February or March — the main focus of the job is as athletic director, but the person will have a role in student discipline.
“We really need two people handling the discipline,” Amerio said. “To expect one person to do that is quite a load. We’ve tried that in the past, and it just hasn’t worked real well.”
Board member Roger Quinlan asked if the plan is to split the duties of athletic director at 75 percent, with 25 percent of the job focused on dean of students. Amerio said that is the intention, but board member Doug Jordahl said he thinks the amount of time spent on each job could vary on a daily basis.
“There’s flexibility in that,” Jordahl said. “Getting the right person in there is the most important thing.”
Board member Anne Reale said she didn’t think whoever the district hires needed to spend almost three-quarters of the position on athletic director duties.
“I’m not totally convinced we need somebody more than 50 percent,” Reale said. “I do have a concern that you get somebody in that position of dean of students and eventually that’s going to take up more time anyway. I’m just not truly convinced that we need an athletic director 75 percent of the time.”
Amerio said the goal is to not “overburden” the new hire with dean of students responsibilities.
“When I was athletic director (at RTHS), I was also in charge of (physical education) and driver’s education, and I was coaching and teaching class,” Quinlan said. “I was here from 7:30 in the morning a lot of times until 10 at night and here on Sundays a lot. It’s time-consuming. There’s a lot more there than meets the eye. I think ... you need more than half the time to do the job right or you’re cutting a lot of corners. You could get by with less if somebody is really a go-getter.”
Amerio posted the job on the school’s website Jan. 15, and a Type 75 administrative certificate is preferred, but not required, giving the district more flexibility in who it could bring in.
“Obviously, if we have a qualified candidate who has a Type 75, they interview very well and are the right person for the job, them having a Type 75 over somebody who does not would boost them up a little bit,” Amerio said. “That really is the decision for the board to make.”
Amerio said he would like to have the ability to negotiate the salary of the new athletic director/dean of students. Bendoraitis’ salary was $46,000.
“It depends on who we get and how much experience they have,” Amerio said. “I don’t think you want to pen anybody in with a number.”
Aside from the creation of the athletic director/dean of students position, the board approved renaming the job titles of current RTHS administrators Megan Anderson and Brooke Billings.
Anderson is the school’s Response to Intervention (RTI) coordinator. Her new title will be assistant principal of curriculum and instruction.
“She has taken on more than what she was originally hired to do,” Amerio said. “Most of it centers around curriculum instruction, (and) she works very closely with (RTHS Principal Todd) Wilson.”
Billings currently holds the position of dean students. The name of her job would be changed to assistant principal of discipline and attendance.
“Brooke has also taken on additional responsibilities, mainly with teacher evaluations,” Amerio said. “What Brooke’s doing now is more of an assistant principal role than a dean of students, but I think it’s important that people understand her main responsibility is discipline and attendance.”
The plan Amerio presented to the board will mean the school will have one less administrator than it did at the start of the 2012-13 school year, but it is a situation the school has had time to work with. Former RTHS Assistant Principal Chris Garard left in early October to become the principal at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School, and the district, in essence, will proceed without that job. Amerio said the district can save between $65,000 and $75,000, if benefits are added in, by not filling that position.