Wilwood principal Savoy returns as administrator
by BRIAN NADIG
Former Wildwood School principal Elena Savoy has returned to be the administrator in charge of the school for the next few months until a new principal is selected.
"I’ve had a very, very warm welcome," Savoy said. She retired as the school’s principal in 2010 after 20 years on the job. News of Savoy’s return was announced at the Oct. 3 meeting of the Wildwood School Local School Council.
Savoy said in an Oct. 4 interview that that portions of the campus were unfamiliar to her when she returned due to the school’s recent addition, but that about 25 percent of the faculty remained from when she retired as the school’s principal in 2010.
Savoy said that she plans to spend the next week reviewing the school’s academics but that she has been impressed by student discipline and overall quality of the Level 1+ performing school.
"I think the school is in a very good place," she said. ""Everybody is at task."
Savoy has worked as an administrator in charge at several schools since 2010, including Farnsworth School and as a principal development coach. Savoy replaces Robert Guercio, who served as Wildwood’s administrator in charge for 3 months after former principal Mary Beth Cunat resigned in early June and took a principal’s position at a private school in Rockford.
The LSC plans to re-advertise for principal applicants as early as December when there should be a larger pool to choose from, as more potential candidates will have completed the school system’s pre-approval process by then. The council had been looking at awarding a contract to a finalist last month, but she dropped out for personal reasons.
During the public comment portion of the LSC meeting, a parent expressed concern that there needs to be better communication between the parents and the school given the transition which the school is going through as it awaits a new principal.
"There’s so much negativity right now," the parent said. "I think communication is the key here. Something is broken, and we need to fix it." She recommended that the school’s Web site be updated with additional information regarding school activities.
A teacher responded that the school is being run smoothly. "(Inside the school building) it doesn’t feel like we’re going through a transition," the teacher said.
Friend of Wildwood board member Jason Betke told the LSC that the fund-raising group is interested in sponsoring the school’s music program again, which was not in place at the start of the school year. "It seems music fell through the cracks," he said. "I think we need music as a daily special again."
In the past, Wildwood has contracted with the Merit School of Music, whose instructors have taught music theory and other programs at the school.
LSC chairwoman Wendy Auffant said that Savoy, who was not at the council meeting, is expected to look into restarting the music program. It also was reported that Guercio was interested in hiring a music teacher instead of contracting with an outside organization if it would save money.
The council normally meets at 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month.