Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 announced the hiring of Dr. Samantha Alaimo as the Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning, Matthew Tombs as the District’s Director of Technology, and Noel Mendoza as the Director of Facility Management. Emerson Middle School Assistant Principal Tessa Shulman was also selected to become its next principal. The Board of Education confirmed all the appointments at its June 15, 2023, meeting and will be effective July 1st.
Dr. Alaimo has been the Emerson Principal since 2019, leading the District’s largest school. Before that, she served as the Associate Principal at Emerson for a year. She replaces Dr. Lori Lopez, who is leaving the District this summer after dedicating 11 years to the community.
“She has been an amazing principal that I’ve also had the pleasure of working with in my current role at Maine South for the past four years. She’s done incredible work at Emerson.” said incoming Superintendent Dr. Ben Collins. “One of the things that I think about in regard to Samantha is just how focused on excellence she is. When you talk to her, she’s just so driven with making sure that students and staff have what they need.”
As the Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning, Dr. Alaimo will provide leadership of the District’s curriculum and instructional programs, including assessment of student achievement, implementation of intervention programs to support student learning and professional development activities for teachers.
Before joining District 64, Dr. Alaimo served five years as a grades 6-8 mathematics and language arts teacher at Laura Ward STEM Elementary School in Chicago. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Alaimo has a master’s and doctorate from Concordia University.
28 individuals applied for this open position, and after the initial screening, an administrative committee consisting of central office administrators interviewed two candidates. The two candidates were then brought back and interviewed before a committee comprised of Board of Education members, central office administrators, and District 64 staff members.
Matthew Tombs comes to District 64 after serving as the Director of Innovation and Technology in River Trails School District 26. He replaces Mary Jane Warden, who is leaving D64 after nearly a decade in the District.
Before his current position in D26, Mr. Tombs was a Digital Learning Coach in East Maine School District 63 for five years. He has also been a 4th-grade teacher in Arlington Heights District 25 and began his career in 2009 as a 6th-grade teacher in Branson, Missouri.
“We were lucky enough to find Matt because of his experience and his background not only in the classroom but at the district level as well,” said Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Dr. Joel Martin. “Additionally, one of the things that stuck out for us through the interview process was his passion for integrating technology and being in the buildings and working with the teachers and principals and making sure that we’re integrating technology seamlessly with the curriculum.”
A graduate of Missouri State University, Mr. Tombs earned his first Masters's Degree in Information Science and Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri, and he has a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education.
Mr. Tombs was selected from the 51 individuals who applied for the open position. He was one of five candidates to interview with an administrative committee of central office administrators. Two candidates were then brought back and interviewed before a committee comprised of Board of Education members, central office administrators, and District 64 staff members.
Noel Mendoza currently serves as the assistant director of facility management but will step into the Director of Facility Management role on July 1st. Mr. Mendoza will replace Anthony Bersani, whom he’s worked alongside here in District 64 for the past few years.
“Noel has a lot of experience, and we’ve seen him grow here in his work at D64, and we are really looking forward to this opportunity for him to become the Director,” said Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Dr. Joel Martin. “He’s been intimately involved in all of the projects that Adam and Tony have been working on for the last year and a half. So we really think this is going to be a great opportunity for Noel and a smooth transition for us.”
Mr. Mendoza's resume includes working in HVAC as an installer, and he was a building custodian supervisor and maintenance supervisor in District 365 before joining District 64 as the Assistant Director of Facility Management.
Tessa Shulman will be the new Emerson Principal starting on July 1st, but she’s already a familiar face within the Emerson community. Mrs. Shulman has been an assistant principal at Emerson since 2020 and is taking over for Dr. Alaimo.
Mrs. Shulman has served as the District 64 Summer School Principal for the past two years and has held numerous leadership roles at Emerson. She coordinated and supervised the MTSS process and implementation for Tiers I, II, and III at Emerson and led Behavior Team committees.
“Rarely in an interview when the candidate has left the room, have I sat back and listened to everybody just tell positive story after positive story about literally every aspect of the school,” said incoming Superintendent Dr. Ben Collins. “It got to the point where it was like, okay, let’s talk about some of the weaknesses, and it was just crickets because she’s amazing. She is an absolute leader who puts her heart on her sleeve and lets everybody know that she’s there for them.”
Before joining D64, Mrs. Shulman was an assistant principal at Genoa-Kingston High School. Previous to that position, she served as a dean of students for three years at two high schools in District U-46. Mrs. Shulman has also been an English teacher at South Elgin High School and Bartlett High School.
A graduate of Illinois State University, Mrs. Shulman has a Master’s in Leadership and Instruction and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, both from Concordia University, Chicago.
Mrs. Shulman was selected from a pool of 20 applicants for the position. After the initial screening, an administrative committee consisting of central office administrators interviewed four candidates. Two candidates were then brought back and interviewed before a committee comprised of central office administrators, district administrators, and Emerson staff members.
D64 will begin the search soon for a new assistant principal to join Shulman and current assistant principal Maria Soulias.