Rhodes School District 84.5

Rhodes School Administration

Choose from the administration positions listed below to access a detailed profile of each staff member. (Their phone extensions are provided as well) In addition, please refer to our Coordinators page for departmental information.


Plus, in accordance with certain requirements of 105 ILCS5/10-20.47 and 105 ILCS5/34-18.37 our administrators salary and benefits can be found here and teacher's salary and benefits can be found here.

Information on The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) can be found here.


Superintendent

Mr. Jim Prather (113)

Mr. Prather became the Rhodes superintendent in 2011. His past professional experiences were as a superintendent/principal, elementary principal, middle school principal, middle school dean, and middle school teacher. He received his Educational Specialist, Masters, and Bachelors degrees from Northern Illinois University. He has certification for positions as a superintendent, chief school business official, general administration (i.e. principal), and secondary teaching (6th-12th grade) in science and social studies. Mr. Prather and his wife, Julie, are the parents of three children, Paige, Andy, and Grant. His favorite hobby is freshwater and saltwater fishing during any and all seasons of the year.

If you would like to discuss any of our current curriculum or special programs at Rhodes, please feel free to contact him for a visit at:

Rhodes School District 84.5
c/o Mr. Jim Prather, Superintendent
8931 West Fullerton Ave.
River Grove, IL 60171
Phone (708) 453-1266
Fax (708) 453-0817

Email Mr. Prather

Principal

Mr. Brian McConnell (134)

Mr. McConnell arrived at Rhodes School in 2011 after working for 9 years in Alton, IL and Waterloo, IL (both in the St. Louis area) as a School Social Worker in schools ranging from Kindergarten to High School. His first 4 years at Rhodes School were spent as the Assistant Principal/Director of Special Education, where he worked in collaboration with the Special Education Department, the Problem Solving team, and was in charge of discipline, among other roles. He has been the Principal at Rhodes since 2015 and is entering his 6th year in that role.

Mr. McConnell attended the University of Illinois for undergraduate and graduate school, earning a Bachelor's in Psychology and a Master's in Social Work. He received his Masters of Arts in Education and Type 75 Certificate from McKendree University. Mr. McConnell enjoys spending time with his wife Julie (who is an Assistant Principal in CPS), their six year old son Patrick, their three year old son Timothy, and their dog Scout.

He loves to run and read, and he enjoys watching the Chicago Cubs, Illinois basketball and Notre Dame football with his family as much as he can. He loves being the Principal and working with the wonderful students and staff at Rhodes School, where he believes a Growth Mindset can help all students and staff have a successful academic and social experience each and every year.

If you would like to discuss any of our current curriculum or special programs at Rhodes, please feel free to contact him for a visit at:

Rhodes School District 84.5
c/o Mr. Brian McConnell, Principal
8931 West Fullerton Ave.
River Grove, IL 60171
Phone (708) 453-6813
#RhodesKidsCan

Email Mr McConnell

Assistant Principal/Special Education Director

Mrs. Nicole Newsome (115)


Mrs. Newsome began her teaching career at Rhodes School in 2008, where she spent the majority of her 11 years teaching 4th grade. She transitioned to the role of Assistant Principal and Director of Special Education in 2019. She is very excited to continue to serve a school community where she has a vested interest in the success of the students and staff. She enjoys working closely with the Administrative Team as well as the Special Education Department and Problem Solving Team, continuing to foster a supportive and motivating learning environment where curricula are intellectually challenging, pushing students to achieve greater success.

Mrs. Newsome graduated from Eastern Illinois University where she majored in Elementary Education earning a Bachelor's degree and a teaching certificate. She has continued her passion for learning by earning two Master's Degrees, both from Concordia University in Curriculum and Instruction and School Leadership with a Type 75 Certification for administration.

She enjoys spending time with her husband Jon and two children, Addison (5) and Logan (2). They enjoy spending time outside together and going for walks with their two dogs, Cooper and Sam.

If you would like to discuss any of our current curriculum or special programs at Rhodes, please feel free to contact her for a visit at:


Rhodes School District 84.5
c/o Mrs. Nicole Newsome, Assistant Principal/Special Education Director
8931 West Fullerton Ave.
River Grove, IL 60171
Phone (708) 453-6813
Fax (708) 453-0817

Email Mrs. Newsome

Assistant Principal/Bilingual Education Director

Mrs. Sarah Ta (116)

Ms. Ta joined the Rhodes learning community as the Assistant Principal/Bilingual Education Director in 2020. In addition to her new duties, she looks forward to continuing to support students who are identified as English Learners, their families, and their teachers. Previously, she taught English as a Second Language in Ottawa, worked as a Transitional Program of Instruction teacher in Chicago, and implemented Transitional Bilingual Education services in Carol Stream.

Ms. Ta participated in the School Leadership Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education this past year from the fall of 2019 to the spring of 2020, earning both her administrative license and Master's degree. While in school, she also interned on administrative teams in Boston Public Schools. She earned her Bachelor's degree at Illinois State University, where she earned her educator's license and bilingual education endorsement.

She lives with her husband and two dogs in Elmhurst. She loves playing with her nieces and nephews, planning family events, camping, and learning new things.

She believes that all students can and must learn and that educators can and must work with families to provide students with the tools they need to be successful.

If you would like to discuss any of our current curriculum or special programs at Rhodes, please feel free to contact her for a visit at:


Rhodes School District 84.5
c/o Mrs. Sarah Ta, Assistant Principal/Bilingual Education Director
8931 West Fullerton Ave.
River Grove, IL 60171
Phone (708) 453-6813
Fax (708) 453-0817

Email Mrs. Ta

Curriculum Director

Mrs. Emily Lahti (137)

Mrs. Lahti joined the Rhodes learning community as the Curriculum Director on July 6, 2021. In addition to her curricular duties, she looks forward to making connections with all members of the community and supporting curricula and instruction to foster growth for all students. She brings to the team 20 plus years of instructional experience in a variety of capacities from Troy School District in Will County. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor for the University of St. Francis in Joliet for graduate students in educational leadership masters programs.

Mrs. Lahti completed her undergraduate work at the University of St.Francis where she majored in Elementary Education and earned her certificate with endorsements in Language Arts and Social Sciences, and has the LBS1 endorsement as well. She continued her education at Olivet University where she earned her masters in Curriculum and Instruction and General Administration. Wanting to be able to support all levels of learning, she also completed 18 hours of graduate courses in gifted education at Aurora University.

She enjoys spending time with her husband Shawn and son Joshua. She loves to cook, read, kayak, and her happy place is the beach.

If you would like to discuss any of our current curriculum or special programs at Rhodes, please feel free to contact her for a visit at:


Rhodes School District 84.5
c/o Mrs. Emily Lahti, Curriculum Director
8931 West Fullerton Ave.
River Grove, IL 60171
Phone (708) 453-6813
Fax (708) 453-0817

Email Mrs. Lahti