PHOTO: Dr. Nicolas Wade leads a community forum held earlier this year at John Mills Elementary School on the District Technology Initiative.
The Board of Education announced Dr. Wade's hiring on April 19 during its regular monthly meeting. The Board unanimously approved a four-year contract for Dr. Wade that will run from July 2017 through the end of June 2021.
Dr. Wade will succeed current Superintendent Dr. Kevin M. Anderson, who announced in March that he will step down June 30 after six years on the job.
Continuity and Change as D401 Moves Forward
"I am very much excited for this new opportunity," Dr. Wade said, "and I am humbled and touched by the enthusiasm provided by the Board and others in the District and the community."
Now in his fourth year in the District, Dr. Wade served as assistant principal of Elmwood Park High School from 2013 to 2016 prior to becoming D401's head of curriculum and instruction, a position he has held since last July.
Dr. Wade has been a driving force behind several major new programs, including the multi-year District Technology Initiative, which will create a Google-based blended-learning environment for students and faculty throughout the District.
Before coming to Elmwood Park, Dr. Wade taught high school English for four years and served as an assistant principal at Winnebago High School for two years.
He received his bachelor of arts from Bradley University, double majoring in English and secondary education. He earned his master of education from Benedictine University in administration and leadership and his doctor of education from Argosy University-Schaumburg in educational leadership.
“To remain in the District, especially at this capacity, is positive for students and staff with maintaining, or even furthering, current initiatives and executing future ones," Dr. Wade said. "It is going to be an exciting time as we look at curriculum, technology, student services, facilities, and community and Village engagement."
He added: "I would be remiss if I did not thank the incredible amount of support and enthusiasm my wife, Taryn, has had for me in my career. She has and always will live up to her title as 'Amazing Wife.'"
Transition on the Business Side
Also at its April 19 meeting, the Board approved the hiring of current EPHS Principal Mr. James Jennings as the District's Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations/Chief School Business Official (CSBO).
Mr. Jennings' assistant superintendent position is newly created and will replace the position of business manager, currently held by Mr. Tom Zelek, who is scheduled to retire on Dec. 31, 2017.
To smooth the transition, Mr. Jennings and Mr. Zelek will work together during the fall semester and share responsibilities in preparation for Mr. Zelek's departure. Mr. Jennings has worked 19 years at EPHS, beginning as a dean of students in 1998. He served as assistant principal for several years before becoming principal in 2002.
"I am excited to continue working with Mr. Jennings in his new position," said Dr. Wade, "as I feel we have a wonderful working relationship and understanding of each other that will benefit our new positions and direction of the District.”
Dr. Wade himself will not have a direct successor. The position of Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction will be divided into two jobs: Director of Curriculum & Instruction and Director of Student Services.
The District is in the process of filling both positions as well as the job of EPHS principal.