District 126 Executive Administration

Dr. Jesse Rodriguez, Superintendent

Phone: (847) 731-9792

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. Jesse Rodriguez, Superintendent

Dr. Jesse J. Rodríguez is a lifelong educator, bringing over 23 years of experience to the position of Superintendent of Schools. He earned both a Master of Science in Educational Leadership and a doctorate with a focus on leadership, learning, research, and service at Cardinal Stritch University. Prior to accepting the position as Superintendent for Zion-Benton District 126, Dr. Rodriguez served as Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer for Proviso Township High Schools District 209, serving 10 diverse communities.  His other professional experiences include high school teacher, assistant principal, principal, and regional superintendent of 26, K-8 schools and three high schools serving over 26,000 students. He served multiple governing and executive boards as part of his service leadership platform and has been recognized for his contributions to education at the local, state, and national levels. Dr. Rodriguez has established performance standards and expectations based on a clear vision for success while creating professional learning environments that are inclusive, collaborative, focused on results and driven by highly effective instruction.  Dr. Rodriguez resides in the district with his wife and three children.


Dr. Matthew Wilkinson, Chief School Business Official

Phone: (847) 731-9755

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. Matthew Wilkinson, Chief School Business Official

Dr. Wilkinson has been working in the field of education for over 20 years, and joined District 126 in July of 2019.  He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from DePaul University, Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Indianapolis, his Superintendent’s credentials through Northern Illinois University, and his doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Francis.  Prior to joining District 126, Dr. Wilkinson was a Superintendent for six years and a Business Manager/CSBO for fifteen years in three other school districts.  Dr. Wilkinson is a member of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials (IASBO) and the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO).  As the District’s CSBO, Dr. Wilkinson oversees all business and financial matters, transportation, technology, food service, building and grounds, and capital improvements for District 126.  


Dr. Susan Barker, Director of Special Education

Phone: (847) 731-9501

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. Susan Barker, Director of Special Education

Dr. Barker has been working in the field of education for over 25 years. She is currently in her thirteenth year serving as the Director of Special Education for District 126.  She earned an Elementary Teaching Degree from Northern Illinois University and Master's Degree in Special Education from National Louis University. While working as a special education teacher, Dr. Barker earned an Administrative Certificate in Educational Leadership from Concordia University and went on to earn a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from National Louis University. Dr. Barker has a passion for working with animals and Animal Assisted Therapy. She has a licensed therapy dog, "Minnie," who works with her in the District on a regular basis.  Dr. Barker is responsible for the management and oversight of all special education programming and special support services.


Dr. Melissa DiGangi, Director of Teaching and Learning

Phone: (847) 731-9794

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. Melissa DiGangi, Director of Teaching and Learning

Dr. DiGangi has served the students and families of District 126 since 2005 and is currently in her seventh year as the Director of Teaching and Learning. Prior to serving in this position, Dr. DiGangi served as an English and Reading teacher and English, ELL, and Visual and Performing Arts Division Chair. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English, with a minor in Secondary Education, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; her Master of Arts in Education, with a Reading Specialist credential, from Dominican University; her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Aurora University; and her Doctor of Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. DiGangi remains active in the broader educational community, participating in a number of state and local associations.  As Director of Teaching and Learning, Dr. DiGangi oversees the District’s curriculum, professional development, English Language Learner program, and the certified staff evaluation process. 


Mr. Jacob Carlson, Director of Student Services

Phone: (847) 731-9356

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. Jacob Carlson, Director of Student Services

Mr. Jacob Carlson has served District 126 since 1999 and became the District’s Director of Students Services in July of 2020.  Prior to becoming an administrator, Mr. Carlson spent 18 years in the Social Science classroom while coaching Boys and Girls Volleyball along with Boys Basketball.  He then served four years as the Division Chair of NJROTC, Social Science and World Language. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science from Carthage College and a Master’s Degree in Administrative Leadership from Aurora University.  As the Director of Student Services, Mr. Carlson oversees all matters related to student registration and placement; local and state assessments; guidance, career, and college planning; credit recovery; student records; health services; and coordination of various student interventions.


Mr. Lonnie Bible, Director of Athletics

Phone: (847) 731-9361

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. Lonnie Bible, Director of Athletics

Lonnie Bible has served District 126 since 1995 and as the District's Athletic Director since July of 1998.  Prior to being Athletic Director, Mr. Bible served as a junior high athletic director for seven years in a feeder district, as well as a middle school and high school social science teacher.  He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his Master’s Degree in Administrative Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  He is a member of the Illinois Athletic Directors Association (IADA) and has earned his Certified Athletic Administrator endorsement from the IADA.  Mr. Bible is responsible for all matters related to District 126's athletic program and its participation in the North Suburban Conference, as well as regional and state level competitions. 


Dr. Chris Pawelczyk, Principal, Zion-Benton Twp. H.S.

Phone: (847) 731-9303

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Dr. Chris Pawelczyk, Principal, Zion-Benton Twp. H.S.

Dr. Pawelczyk has served as Principal of Zion-Benton Twp. High School since 2013.  Prior to this, Dr. Pawelczyk taught high school science and history in the south suburbs of Chicago and worked as an Assistant Principal in the Chicago Public Schools.  He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences with a concentration in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, his certification in Secondary Education from Chicago State University, his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Governors State University, and a Doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  In his role as principal, Dr. Pawelczyk serves as the instructional leader of and lead building administrator for Zion-Benton Twp. High School.


Mr. Chris Kubic, Principal, New Tech @ Zion-Benton East

Phone: (847) 731-9803

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. Chris Kubic, Principal, New Tech @ Zion-Benton East

Mr. Kubic has been the Principal of New Tech @ Zion-Benton East since July of 2019.  Prior to joining District 126, he coordinated service learning and taught Social Studies courses for 15 years, served as a Social Studies Department Chair for five years, and coordinated college/university orientation and freshman success programs for six years.  He attended Northern Illinois University for his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, Communication, and Psychology, as well as his Master of Science in Adult and Higher Education, and earned his administrative certification from Concordia University Chicago.  A resident of Zion since 2006, he has been a leader in building community relationships, encouraging civic engagement, and coordinating dialogues on race, and looks forward to continuing those efforts in his role as Principal at New Tech High, where he serves as the instructional leader and lead building administrator. 


Mr. Jack Niemi, Asst. Principal, Zion-Benton Twp. H.S.

Phone: (847) 731-9305

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. Jack Niemi, Asst. Principal, Zion-Benton Twp. H.S.

Jack Niemi has served District 126 since 2002 and is currently in his fifteenth year as the Assistant Principal for Operations and Activities at Zion-Benton Twp. High School.  Prior to serving as Assistant Principal, Mr. Niemi worked as a physical education teacher and Dean of Students.  Mr. Niemi earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education from Illinois State University and his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Illinois University.  In addition to his role as Assistant Principal, Mr. Niemi is a member of many state educational organizations as well as the Zion-Benton Kiwanis.  As Assistant Principal for Operations and Activities, Mr. Niemi's primary responsibilities include overseeing the Deans Office and student disciplinary matters; student development via clubs, activities, and the advisory program; coordination of building usage; and summer school programming. 


Ms. Bonnie Felske, Asst. Principal, New Tech High @ Zion-Benton East

Phone: (847) 731-9806

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Ms. Bonnie Felske, Asst. Principal, New Tech High @ Zion-Benton East

Bonnie Felske has served District 126 since 2010 and is currently in her sixth year as Assistant Principal at New Tech High @ Zion-Benton East.  Prior to her role as Assistant Principal, Mrs. Felske served as Dean of Students for five years at Zion-Benton Twp. High School and taught 7th and 8th grade social science for 15 years.  She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in History and Secondary Education from Lake Forest College and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and School Leadership credentials from Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois.  As Assistant Principal, Mrs. Felske's primary responsibilities include oversight of student disciplinary matters; student development via clubs, activities, and the advisory program; teacher development/evaluation; and coordination of building usage.