Oswego School Board unanimously approves hiring of assistant principals at Bednarcik Jr. High, Oswego East

The Oswego School District 308 Board of Education has approved the hiring of two assistant principals for the upcoming school year.

In a unanimous vote during their July 12 meeting, the board named Kurt Laakso to serve as assistant principal of curriculum and instruction at Oswego East High School and Adam Lester to serve as assistant principal at Bednarcik Junior High School in Aurora.

Information provided by the district shows that Laakso will earn a base salary of $97,500 for the 2021-2022 school year, pro-rated for a July 13 start, and Lester will earn a base salary of $68,500 for the 2021-2022 school year.

Lester began his work in education in 2007 at Willowbrook High School in Villa Park and most recently served as an instructional coach at Batavia High School, filling multiple roles for teachers as an instructional specialist, data coach, and learning facilitator, according to a district press statement.

In the course of his career, Lester has taught 28 English classes at three different high schools, spent 13 years as a high school English teacher, eight years as an English department teacher leader, one year as a district instructional coach, and two years as a certified evaluator in the Danielson Framework for Teacher Evaluations.

“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the family at Bednarcik Junior High,” Lester said in the statement. “As an assistant principal, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to support the students, staff, and community of Bednarcik while empowering our students to own their learning and follow their passions.”

Lester earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from Illinois State University in Normal, an initial teaching certificate from Governors State University in University Park, and his master’s of arts in educational leadership - principal preparation - from Aurora University.

Director of Junior High Education Shannon Lueders noted that Lester has extensive experience as an instructional coach and secondary English teacher.

“These experiences make him an excellent addition to the Bednarcik leadership team,” Lueders said.

Prior to his appointment as assistant principal at OEHS, Laakso served as a dean of students at OEHS during the 2020-2021 school year.

“Oswego East is an exemplary high school with talented, hard-working faculty, supportive parents and engaged students,” Laakso said in the statement.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve OE in this new capacity as the assistant principal of curriculum and instruction and am excited to collaborate with our stakeholders in providing a great education to the young men and women of our community,” Laakso said.

Prior to joining OSD 308, Laakso served as the associate superintendent for human resources at High School District 214 in Arlington Heights. He also served as principal at Prospect High School in Mt. Prospect, and as the division head of English and fine arts at Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove.

Laakso earned a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature and Language, cum laude, at Harvard University; a master’s in arts in English at Boston College; and a master’s degree in education and certification of advanced study in administration, planning and social policy at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

In the statement, OEHS Principal Laura Bankowski said Oswego East is excited to welcome Laakso as the new assistant principal of curriculum and Instruction.

“Mr. Laakso brings a wealth of experience, having spent the last 29 years serving students, families and staff in teaching and administrative roles, as well as having worked extensively as an instructional leader. In the past year as a dean of students at Oswego East, he has gone above and beyond in providing leadership through an unprecedented time,” Bankowski said. “Kurt is a welcome addition to the Oswego East staff and will personify the East motto of Excellence Academics, Spirit, and Tradition in all that he does.”