By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Rhonda Butler is the new assistant principal of Murray Elementary School. She was selected for the position after the previous assistant principal Youlanda Snowden retired at the end of the school year.
Butler began as the assistant principal (A.P.) on July 1 at Murray, 5335 S. Kenwood Ave. The Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., graduate has been an educator for more than 17 years. Before coming to Murray, Butler was a principal resident at Sayre Elementary School. Prior to that she was the data specialist and interventionist and a teacher at Gillespie Elementary School. She also taught at Dodge and Bontemps elementary schools.
Greg Mason, principal at Murray, said out of 80 candidates that applied for the position, Butler had the most experience and showed the most potential.
“Butler has strong instructional leadership experience,” Mason said.
Mason and an A.P. selection committee that included parents and staff members agreed that Butler’s areas of expertise, which include gifted programs and curriculum, education technology integration, partnership development and collaboration, professional development of staff and student parent and community stakeholder engagement, made her the most qualified for the position.
Butler, who said she discovered her love for teaching while attending Kenwood, completed the New Leaders aspiring principals program in 2014. She received her master of Education in education technology from American College of Education in Chicago, her master of Science in education in curriculum and instruction from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. and Bachelor of Science in education in elementary education from Illinois State University in Normal, Ill.
In her new role Butler will help with the development of Murray’s gifted program.
“Murray and now all of the schools in Hyde Park struggle with keeping their middle school students at their schools. We want to create something comparable with what they would get in the academy programs,” Butler said.
She said the school is looking all a variety of possibilities, even a partnership with Kenwood Academy.
Her other duties include grant writing, business and community partnership development, parent outreach and developing a more rigorous math curriculum.