ONIEDA – The ROWVA School Board approved the hiring of Dr. James Dunlap as its new superintendent on Monday night. He will take over on July 1.

He replaces outgoing superintendent Joe Sornberger who will become superintendent of Jasper County School District 1.

Dunlap currently teaches math at Morgan Park High School in Chicago. He served seven years as superintendent at Evergreen Park Community High School District 231 and Thornton School District 154, both near Chicago. He also served as a secondary school principal for two years at Edwards County and Carrolton Secondary Schools.

Dunlap earned a BS in Mathematics Education from Indiana State University in 1998. He went on to earn a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois in 2003. He has received his specialist education degree from Eastern Illinois University in 2010 and his doctorate in educational leadership from Indiana State University in 2013.

In a statement, Dunlap said that “of the utmost importance is that we always respect what is best for students as the highest priority. If we are ever faced with a decision that has the potential to reduce the services we provide to students in a way that will be detrimental, we must do everything in our power to avoid this course of action.”

“Dr. Dunlap has impressed the Board with his knowledge of administrative policies and processes,” said Scott Lake, Chairman of the Board. “He has significant academic, curriculum, teaching, finance and budgeting experience and will be a great fit for the staff and community here at ROWVA.”

Dunlap will be moving to the ROWVA area with his wife, Deborah, and daughter, Samantha, who is currently finishing her 7th grade at Evergreen Park. Her two older children, Anthony and Cameron, currently attend Purdue University Northwest in Hammond, Indiana.

“I look forward to beginning my work with the board and all stakeholders to continue moving the district forward,” Dunlap said in the statement. “Together we will stay strong from ROWVA!”

Dunlap further stated that one of his first priorities will be to initiate the strategic planning process to define the core values, vision and direction for the ROWVA District to continue its growth. This process will include stakeholders from across the district.

Dunlap grew up in Oblong, Illinois, which has a population of 1,520. He therefore knows the small communities well.