Welcome to Sycamore Community Unit School District 427. It is a pleasure to serve our community and school district as your administration. We are a dynamic team of educators who are student centered, and our actions will be centered around the young people that we serve as we do everything within our power to maximize the educational opportunities available to each and every student.
Kathy Countryman, Superintendent, received her undergraduate and Master’s Degrees in Education from the University of Iowa. She also holds a Superintendent Endorsement from Western Illinois University. Kathy spent 8 years teaching in Iowa prior to moving to Illinois. Her administrative career began in Indian Prairie #204 in Naperville as Assistant Principal. Her tenure with Sycamore Schools began the fall of 2000, as the principal of Southeast Elementary School. In 2004, Kathy was appointed Assistant Superintendent. In 2012, she was appointed Superintendent, a role she currently holds. Kathy and her family have resided in Sycamore since 1995. Kathy understands the importance of the community of Sycamore places on education and strives to create school and community partnerships that enhance the lives of all stakeholders.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Services
Nicole Stuckert received her Undergraduate Degree in Accounting and a Masters Degree in Business Management from Northern Illinois University. She also holds a Chief School Business Official license. Her tenure with Sycamore Schools began in the Spring of 2009 as the District Accountant. She was appointed the Director of Financial Services in 2013 and was named Assistant Superintendent for Business Services in 2019. Her responsibilities include managing the overall finances and operations for the District. She is also currently a Director of the Board to the Illinois Association of School Business Officials (IASBO). Nicole and her husband are the proud parents of their sons, Chase and Lane, and currently, reside in Sycamore.
Director of Buildings and Grounds
Mark Ekstrom, Director of Buildings and Grounds, received his Associate’s Degree from Kishwaukee College, his Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Business and Agricultural Education from Illinois State University and his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Aurora University. Mark worked as an Agriculture teacher at Iroquois West High School from 1996-1999, and as the Agriculture/Horticulture Teacher at Sycamore High School from 1999-2007. He served as principal at Southeast Elementary School from 2007 until he transitioned in 2019 to the District’s Director of Buildings and Grounds.
Kristine Webster, Ed.D.
Director of Learning & Teaching
Kristine Webster, Director of Learning and Teaching, received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Elmhurst College and her Masters in Teaching from Aurora University. She earned her Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Aurora University and is a Doctoral Candidate at Northern Illinois University working toward her PhD in Educational Psychology with a focus on childhood trauma and resilience. Additionally, Kris has a graduate certificate of study from Northern Illinois University in Trauma Informed Counseling and a is a certified school based mindfulness teacher through Mindful Schools. Prior to coming to the Sycamore School District, Kris served as an elementary school principal in both Aurora, IL and Batavia, IL. Additionally, before beginning her administrative career, Kris enjoyed eight years of teaching 4th and 5th grade students in Batavia, IL. She is dedicated to providing a rich, rigorous, and thoughtful educational experience that empowers students to be active participants in their learning and provides the opportunity for all to reach their full potential.
Director of Student Services
Lynn Reilley, Director of Student Services, received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education with a minor in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University and her Masters of Education in Leadership and Administration from Benedictine University. She received her Director of Special Education Endorsement from Lewis University. Prior to coming to Sycamore School District, Lynn served as Assistant Director of Student Services for the Geneva School District; Student Service Coordinator for Longwood Elementary School in Naperville and as a special-education teacher in Naperville and Lombard. She is passionate about the work that is done in education to support the academic, functional and social/emotional success for all the students we serve. Lynn believes that a collaborative team approach with Administrators, Staff, Parents, Board of Education, and the Community does make a difference in the lives of students and has an impact in our Community and our World. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed that is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Sycamore High School Principal
Tim Carlson, Sycamore High School Principal, graduated from Malta High School and went on to get his Associate’s Degree from Kishwaukee College and his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Northern Illinois University. He also has two Master’s Degrees from NIU in Sport Management and Education Administration. Tim was previously the Athletic Director at Sycamore High School prior to gaining his current position. The goal of Sycamore High School is to provide positive experiences for all students and to truly “empower all students to succeed in their world.” High School should be the “Experience of a Lifetime” for young people and should help students engage academically and socially as they progress into adulthood.
Sycamore High School Assistant Principal
Steve Balster, Sycamore High School Assistant Principal, received a Bachelor’s Degree from Illinois State University, a Master’s Degree from Northern Illinois University, and his Type 75 from Aurora University. Steve taught four years at Geneva High School before becoming the Dean of Students for seven years. He was the Dean of Students at St. Charles for one year before coming to his current position in Sycamore in 2008. Steve believes education should provide a challenging, caring, and passionate educational experience for every student so they can be productive citizens. Also, education can provide a connection for students through athletics or extra-curricular activities.
Sycamore High School Assistant Principal
Nick Reineck is currently Assistant Principal at Sycamore High School in Sycamore, Illinois. Nick earned his undergraduate degree from Knox College, which enabled him to achieve endorsements in Social Sciences and Special Education. He spent seven years teaching at Rochelle Township High School in Rochelle, Illinois, while also achieving his Masters in Educational Administration from Aurora University. He became Dean at Sycamore High School and served in that role for four years before being named an Assistant Principal. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northern Illinois University. Nick is excited to watch students blossom and build connections during their four years of high school.
Nick’s passion for Personalized Learning has driven him to implement several programs at Sycamore High School in an effort to increase student engagement through offering more voice and choice. Nick has presented at local and national conferences, and has a true passion for keeping the student at the center of learning.
6-12 Athletic/Activities Director
Mr. Chauncey Carrick is the 6-12 Athletic/Activities Director. He has had a variety of teaching responsibilities in the district, including elementary, middle school, and high school physical education. Additionally, his coaching duties have included Assistant Varsity Football, Assistant Varsity Track, and Head Wrestling Coach. Mr. Carrick was awarded the 2001 USA Wrestling Greco-Roman Coach of Distinction Award, the 2010 IWCOA Class 2A Head Wrestling Coach of the Year, the 2015 IWCOA Administrator of the Year and in 2016 he received the highest honor given by the IKWF, the Ron Silverstein Award. Mr. Carrick was a 1987 graduate of Mt. Pleasant High School in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. His academic preparations include a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education from Western Illinois University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Aurora University. Chauncey and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two sons, Gable and Adam. The family currently resides in Sycamore.
Sycamore Middle School Principal
Jim Cleven, Middle School Principal, received his Bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and his Master’s Degree from Aurora University. Jim spent his first eight years teaching at Central Middle School in Burlington. He added three more years at Central as the Dean of Students, before moving on to be the Assistant Principal at Simmons Middle School in East Aurora for two years. Mr. Cleven began his career at Sycamore Middle School as the Assistant Principal in 2004, and was named as Principal in 2009. Jim’s goal is to make the middle school years a great experience to remember and would like to build partnerships with parents that will enhance their child’s education.
Sycamore Middle School Assistant Principal
Sarah Frankiewicz, Sycamore Middle School Assistant Principal, is a proud graduate of Sycamore High School. Sarah began her undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa, received her Bachelor’s Degree from DePaul University in Chicago, and her Master’s Degree from Aurora University. She started her teaching career at Belding Elementary School on the northwest side of Chicago. Sarah was thrilled to join the SMS staff in 2006, and has taught English, literature, and social studies at each grade level. All of Sarah’s experience in education has been at the middle school level, which she values as some of the most significant years in adolescence and development. Sarah is so excited to be part of a school community that fosters strong, positive relationships with students and families. Go Spartans!
Sycamore Middle School Dean of Students
Justin Drennan, Sycamore Middle School Dean of Students, earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University and received his Master’s Degree from Concordia University. Justin began his teaching career at MacArthur Middle school in Berkeley, Illinois as a middle school physical education teacher for four years. Justin was then hired at Mooseheart and taught elementary physical education and health. Over the last three years, Justin served as Dean of students at Mooseheart school. Justin grew up in the area and is excited to join Sycamore School District. Justin is honored to have the opportunity to help implement the district’s vision to “empower all learners to succeed in their world” by ensuring a safe environment for students to learn and grow. Justin looks forward to establishing relationships with the students and members of the community. Go SPARTANS!
North Elementary School Principal
Thomas Franks, North Elementary School Principal, received his Associate’s Degree from Sauk Valley Community College, his Bachelor’s Degree from Northern Illinois University, and his Master’s Degree from Aurora University. Thomas began his career as a student teacher at West School, and he then taught four years of fourth and fifth grade multi-age at Southeast School. Mr. Franks was then hired by Sycamore Middle School, where he taught eight years of sixth grade prior to accepting his current position as Assistant Principal in 2012. Thomas is proud to be part of implementing the district’s vision by working with staff, students, and the community in building positive relationships and educational experiences for all.
North Grove Elementary Principal
Ryan J. Janisch, North Grove Elementary, received his Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Northern Illinois University, his Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University, and his Educational Specialist Degree from Northern Illinois University. Ryan was a physical education/health teacher at Central Middle School in Burlington from 2004-2007, and then became Dean of Students/Athletic Director at Prairie Knolls Middle School in Burlington. Ryan became the principal of North Grove Elementary in 2009. The staff at North Grove is dedicated to providing learning opportunities that promote student growth academically, socially and emotionally. This is achieved by building strong character in students while instilling a desire for lifelong learning. The staff at North Grove also shares the belief that professional development and collaboration are the driving forces to constant educational improvement. This approach will “Empower all learners to succeed in their world.”
South Prairie Principal
Kreg Wesley, Principal of South Prairie Elementary School, has served as an administrator for Sycamore School District since 2001. Kreg’s education includes graduating of Plano High School, receiving his Associate’s Degree from Waubonsee Community College and earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University.
After earning a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from North Central College in Naperville, Kreg returned to Northern Illinois University to continue additional graduate classes in School Finance where he earned his Chief School Business Official Certificate.
Kreg, his wife Diane, and two daughters live in Sycamore. Kreg believes that we can “Empower ALL Learners to Succeed in Their World,” by building relationships and providing individual opportunities to pursue interests and to enhance learning.
Southeast Elementary School Principal
Kristi Crawford, West Elementary School Principal, received her Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Level Education from Illinois State University and her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Illinois. Kristi taught middle school math for 10 years at Williamsville Jr. High, and then moved to Wisconsin and taught math at Grafton Middle School for 2 more years. She accepted her first administrative position as Assistant Principal of Grafton Middle School and remained in this position for 2 years. Kristi’s family moved back to Illinois and she became the first principal of North Boone Middle School in Poplar Grove. After 3 years in this position, she moved within the North Boone School District to Manchester Elementary and Poplar Grove Elementary where she served as elementary principal for 8 years. In 2015, Kristi was appointed as principal of West Elementary. The West Staff, in cooperation with the parents and community, will work endlessly to meet the needs of each student who enters our doors. Our commitment to a team effort and academic excellence has always been the expectation for our school and will continue to be the goal that we focus on in the upcoming school year.
West Elementary School Principal
Ryan Schrader, Sycamore Middle School Dean of Students, graduated from Kaneland High School, went on to get his Bachelor’s Degree from Aurora University in Elementary Education and received his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Aurora University as well. Before coming to Sycamore Middle School, he taught Elementary Physical Education and Coached High School Football for 7 years in Yorkville. Mr. Schrader taught Careers/Life Skills at SMS for one year before becoming the Dean of Students. He and his wife have three children and reside here in Sycamore. Ryan is very excited to work and be a part of the Sycamore School District working together as a staff, district, and community to provide the best opportunities for our students’ futures.