Unit 4 Hires Susan Zola As Next Superintendent

Dr. Susan Zola, who was announced as Champaign Unit 4 Schools next superintendent Wednesday.

Dr. Susan Zola, who was announced as Champaign Unit 4 Schools next superintendent Wednesday.

Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

Champaign Unit 4 has promoted from within for its next superintendent. Susan Zola, currently serving as the District's Assistant Superintendent for Achievement, Curriculum, and Instruction at the District's 12 elementary schools will take over for the retiring Judy Wiegand on July 1. Zola was chosen from three candidates after a national search was conducted.

"The impressive quality and quantity of the work Dr. Zola has done for Unit 4 was more than enough to propel her to the finalist stage," said Unit 4 Board President Chris Kloeppel, in a press release. "However, it was her performance during the interview process--her eloquence, passion, poise, and professionalism--that ultimately convinced us to choose her as the next Superintendent of Champaign Unit 4." 

The Unit 4 school board's choice of Zola was announced at a news conference at the school district's Mellon Administrative Center Tuesday evening. The announcement was greeted by applause and some cheers from several district employees who were in attendance.

Zola started her career as a first grade teacher at Urbana District 116. At Unit 4, she has served as Principal of Dr. Howard Elementary, Director of Title I/Literacy, Director of Choice, and Principal of Jefferson Middle School.

Dr. Susan Zola reads a statement after being introduced as the new superintendent of Champaign Unit 4 Schools, as (left to right) school board president Chris Kloeppel, vice president Amy Armstrong, and board member Kathy Richards watch.

Photo Credit: Jim Meadows/Illinois Public Media

Zola will take over as the district gets ready for a six-building expansion and renovation project, approved last year by Unit 4 voters. At the announcement of her appointment Wednesday evening, Zola said she wants to make sure those projects are done right.

"We’re going to ensure that those facilities are built with 21st century learning and innovation in mind", said Zola. "These campuses are going to make Champaign Unit Four a destination school district for families and businesses looking to grow our community.”

Zola was selected over two other finalists - Paul Fregeau, Assistant Superintendent at North Kansas City (Mo.) schools, and Michael Popp, Interim Superintendent of Flossmoor Schools.

The Unit 4 Board will vote to finalize her contract at its next meeting on February 27.

(This article was revised, 2/16/17 8:34 AM to add additional material).

Story source: WILL