A number of new faces are present at the central administration offices of Evanston/Skokie School District 65, but the changes were implemented without adding to payroll costs, according to an administration spokesperson.

“The staffing changes are a result of restructuring efforts that began at the end of last school year and will not incur additional costs,” said Melissa Messinger, the district’s communications coordinator.

As the last school year was nearing a close, Superintendent Paul Goren did an initial restructuring, eliminating 6.5 positions for an annual cost savings of $464,266.

Part of that savings was used, along with other actions, to balance this year’s budget. The remainder was set aside, Goren said, to provide for additional positions that would be created to provide critical support and oversight in the area of curriculum and instruction.

Coming aboard at the beginning of this school year were Dr. Stacy Beardsley, Interim Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction, and Vernessa Stepney, Special Services Supervisor.

Reassigned to the central office staff was Ismalis “Izzy” Nunez, who will head family and community engagement efforts for the district.


Dr. Beardsley will report to Goren and to Assistant Superintendent John Price. Ms. Nunez and Ms. Stepney will report to Joyce Bartz, Assistant Superintendent of Special Services.

Ms. Nunez remains in the position of social worker; however, her responsibilities have shifted and will now focus on family and community engagement efforts.

Several positions were restructured within the Special Services Department, and Ms. Stepney was hired to fill a vacant Special Services Supervisor position.

Dr. Beardsley is responsible for the leadership and implementation of district curricula and supports. In addition, she will establish professional learning opportunities for teachers and staff that promote high-quality instruction and implementation of district curricula.

Her work will have three primary areas of focus:  professional learning, literacy, and technology. 

Ms. Nunez, who has served as a social worker at Haven Middle School for the past five years, is responsible for cultivating trusting, intentional partnerships with families and community agencies to support academic success and healthy social emotional development of all students.

Ms. Stepney will fill the role of Special Services Supervisor for Kingsley, Walker, Washington, and Willard elementary schools. She is responsible for coordinating special education programs and related services at her assigned schools.

She most recently served as an assistant principal in the Schaumburg School District for three years and as a school psychologist for six years before that. She started her career in the Waukegan School District as a school psychologist.

Parents and other district stakeholders interested in getting to know the leadership team better are invited to attend a special meet-and-greet program on Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Joseph E. Hill Educational Center, 1500 McDaniel Ave.

At that event, team members will share information about their roles and responsibilities, and will offer tips for a great school year. There will be time for questions and visiting at the end of the session. 

Related story:

D65 pares staff in budget move

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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1 Comment

  1. Fuzzy math…

    How can they say it hasn't cost the district more money? We are basically back to having 2 assistant superintendents… But have changed titles. D65 now also has added a couple of paid interns and other jobs that were not anticipated. 

    I would suggest a serious audit of all jobs added in the last year since the new admin has come in…. And just wait for contract negotiations later this year…. How will we sustain these district office additions ??

    It is truly disappointed to see how the new admin twists everything…..

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