Recommendations for Co-Interim Senior Directors of Human Resources for 2021-22

On Tuesday, July 13, the District 97 Board of Education is expected to take action on a recommendation to appoint two retired administrators who have extensive human resources experience, Cathie Pezanoski and Tim Kilrea, as co-interim senior directors of human resources for the 2021-22 school year. Board meeting details can be found here.

Pending board approval, Pezanoski will begin her tenure with District 97 on July 12 and Kilrea will begin in August. Because the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) limits the number of days a retired educator can work each school year, they will share the role and divide responsibilities and workdays as needed. Each will be paid a daily rate and work approximately half the year.

Pezanoski comes to District 97 with 35 years of experience in education, including 15 years as a district administrator. She retired June 30 from Elwood Community Consolidated School District 203, where she has been the superintendent for the past nine years. During her tenure, Pezanoski facilitated the negotiations of three collective bargaining agreements with the local teachers union, facilitated all personnel issues, hired all staff, and served as a trustee for the Lincolnway Insurance Cooperative. 

Prior to becoming a superintendent, Pezanoski served two years as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for Downers Grove Grade School District 58, four years as director of elementary curriculum and instruction for Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202, and eight years as an elementary principal in several Illinois districts. She has also worked as an adjunct professor for the University of St. Francis, an associate for the education search firm School Exec Connect, and a private financial consultant for Taft Elementary School District.

Pezanoski holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Illinois State University, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Bradley University, and a Chief School Business Official certification from Illinois State University.

Like Pezanoski, Kilrea comes to District 97 with a vast range of skills and experience from his 35-year career in education. Most recently, Kilrea served as superintendent of Lyons Township High School District 204, where he led students, families and staff for the past 12 years before retiring at the end of June. 

Prior to being superintendent, Kilrea served as the director of human resources for District 204, a role that has primed him to make an immediate impact in District 97. During Kilrea’s tenure, he did everything from leading in the recruitment, retention and development of the district’s personnel to coordinating the district’s new teacher induction and mentoring program. He negotiated agreements for District 204’s three bargaining units while also overseeing the development and implementation of broader systems and initiatives in human resources, including mentoring administrative and supervisory staff on personnel related issues.

Kilrea has roots in Frankfort, IL, where he began his career as a history teacher at Lincoln-Way High School in 1987. He went on to serve in numerous roles, including as department chair, assistant dean of students, coordinator of deans/director of student activities and associate principal for curriculum and instruction. He was also principal of Thornton Fractional South High School and assistant superintendent at Thornton Fractional Township High School District 215 prior to his move to District 204.

Kilrea holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Illinois State University, a master’s degree in educational administration from Governors’ State University and a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Illinois.