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Gateway superintendent moving on

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By Tory N. Parrish and Kyle Lawson
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Gateway School District is losing its superintendent less than two years after elevating him to the post.

In July, Joseph Petrella, 45, will begin a new job as superintendent of Diamond Lake School District 76 in Mundelein, Ill., departing Diamond Lake Superintendent Roger Prosise said on Tuesday.

"I always thought that Gateway would not be able to hang on to Dr. Joe Petrella," former school Director Joe Wightkin said. "I saw first-hand the strong, passionate leadership Dr. Petrella brought to Gateway. He is unafraid to confront problems and to offer unpopular solutions."

Members of the District 76 board, which was expected to vote on final approval of Petrella's hiring at a meeting last night, did not return calls for comment. Petrella declined to comment on Monday and did not return calls yesterday.

Some Gateway school board members first heard the news at an executive session on Monday, member Janice Rawson said. The board has yet to receive a letter of resignation, but a plan is in place to fill the void, Rawson said.

Petrella was scheduled to make about $140,000 in the coming school year, district spokeswoman Cara Zanella said. He'll make $175,000 annually in the Illinois district, according to his contract.

Gateway, which serves students in Monroeville and Pitcairn, has about 3,800 students in grades kindergarten through 12. The Diamond Lake district has 1,200 students in three schools serving prekindergarten through eighth grade, said Prosise.

Prosise, 57, is retiring this year after 14 years in his post, he said.

Petrella started as Gateway superintendent July 1, 2010, replacing Cleveland Steward Jr., who retired. He was assistant superintendent from 2004 to 2009.

Gateway board member Skip Drumheller said Petrella improved the curriculum and test scores in the district. The District 76 board selected Petrella from about 45 applicants, Prosise said.

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