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Downstate educator to head SD 201U

Nathaniel Cunningham Jr.  |  Supplied photo

Nathaniel Cunningham Jr. | Supplied photo

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Updated: August 14, 2014 6:31AM



The Crete-Monee School District 201U Board has hired Nathaniel Cunningham Jr., of downstate Danville, as superintendent with a three-year contract at an annual salary of $215,000.

The board approved the contract by a 6 to 1 vote at a special meeting July 1, with board member Michael Turay opposed.

“I thought there was a better candidate,” Turay said. “I wanted another person, but the board was sold on him.”

Cunningham takes over for John Rodgers, one of four top administrators to leave the district at the end of this school year. Rodgers and Assistant Supt. of Student Affairs George Elrod retired, while Anthony Edison, the assistant superintendent for human resources, and business manager Robert Groos left for other positions.

Cunningham, 48, most recently served as assistant superintendent of human resources in McLean County Unit District 5 in downstate Normal. He was among 63 applicants in District 201U produced by a Rosemont-based search firm to which the district paid $20,000.

“I believe that with strong connections and commitment, together we can develop the whole child and create an effective learning environment for both our students and staff members,” Cunningham wrote in an introductory message on the district’s website.

Cunningham and his family will move into the district. One of his two sons will be a freshman at Crete-Monee High School this coming school year.

Cunningham will receive a doctorate in educational leadership from Illinois State University in December. He has a master’s degree in education from Chapman University and a degree in educational administration from Eastern Illinois University. He is an alumnus of the Air Force Academy.

He began his educational career as a teacher and coach in Danville and was an associate principal at Rantoul Township High School for several years before becoming principal at Glenwood High School in Chatham, which was recognized as one of the Top 50 high schools in the state while he ran it.

“Mr. Cunningham possesses so many of the qualities that this board of education was really looking for,” District 201U board president Nakia Hall said in a news release. “He knows what it takes to work collaboratively and build systematic programs that improve the culture of schools and has had great success with building capacity from within. “

SouthtownStar staff report



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