For Ms. Alexandra Oreluk, the climb up the educational leadership ladder has been a rapid one.
Barely six years after graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor's degree in special education, the Hinsdale native has already been the assistant principal of an 873-student middle school in Will County.
Now she is the new assistant principal of John Mills Elementary, succeeding the school's interim assistant principal from last year, Dr. Reinhard Nickisch.
Ms. Oreluk joins incoming Principal Mr. Frank Kuzniewski to form the new administrative team at Mills. (For an interview with Principal Kuzniewski, who succeeds Ms. Laura Magruder, please click here.)
A 2009 graduate of Hinsdale Central High School, Ms. Oreluk comes to her new job with a master's degree in educational administration from Concordia University Chicago. She also has an English Language Learner certificate from National Louis University.
As if her schedule weren't busy enough, Ms. Oreluk is currently working on a second master's degree — this one in curriculum and instruction, also from NLU.
To learn more about John Mills' new assistant principal, District 401 web/media specialist Dave Porreca interviewed her via email. An edited version of their exchange appears below.
Q: Welcome to District 401! How many years have you worked in education?
A: This school year will be my seventh year in education. Two years were in administration and four years were in teaching.
Q: What were your previous education jobs?
A: I was a special education teacher at H.H. Conrady Junior High School in Hickory Hills, Ill., for four years (2013-17), and I was assistant principal at Hickory Creek Middle School in Frankfort, Ill., for two years (2017-19).
Q: What attracted you to education as a career?
A: When I was a student, I always looked up my teachers. I also enjoyed volunteering with students who had disabilities. In high school, I completed an Invitation to Teach program, and it solidified my desire to pursue a career in education.
Q: What led you to move into administration?
A: I became an administrator because I wanted to positively impact a larger number of students.
Q: What attracted you to the John Mills assistant principal job?
A: I wanted to be a part of a school and district that focuses on continuous improvement and growth in the areas of curriculum, technology and student achievement. John Mills and Elmwood Park District 401 are making changes that are best for students, and I'm excited to be a part of the implementation!
Q: What has been your impression of John Mills so far?
A: I am so happy to be at John Mills! The students, families and staff have been very welcoming to me. I am excited for the 2019-20 school year!
Q: For those of us who might have only a vague idea of what an assistant principal does, could you tell us what your main day-to-day responsibilities are?
A: As the assistant principal, I will be working with teachers on curriculum implementation and best practices. I will also be in classrooms as much as possible to work with students.
Q: What are your goals for the year?
A: My goal is to develop positive working relationships with the students, staff and community. I also want to be in classrooms as much as possible to be a part of the learning process.
Q: Is there anything miscellaneous you'd like to share about yourself?
A: I have run a marathon, and I hope to complete a second one soon!