The District 155 leadership team includes 14 school and district administrators who oversee and implement the board of education's strategic vision for the district.
Steve Olson was named the thirteenth superintendent of schools in Community High School District 155 in August 2018. He has spent his entire educational career in District 155, and prior to being named superintendent, he served as principal of Crystal Lake Central for 16 years. Olson also held positions in the district as Central’s vice principal, and as well as vice principal, dean of students, athletic director, and guidance counselor at Crystal Lake South. He joined District 155 in 1985 as a social science teacher at Crystal Lake South High School. In 1999, he moved to Crystal Lake Central to become principal in 2000. Mr. Olson holds several academic degrees, including a bachelor’s degree in broadfield social science from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. He has also earned a masters in guidance and counseling from Northern Illinois University, and his superintendent endorsement from Aurora University.
Steve Olson has a strong background in social emotional learning, equity leadership, academic excellence and facilities management all that assisted in the development of the recently adopted District 155 Strategic Plan. In September 2020, Olson earned a distinguished alumni award from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, which recognizes outstanding educators and the contributions they make to children and communities.
Director of Fiscal Services
Erica Bruso currently serves as the director of fiscal services for District 155, and has been with the district since 2011, when she began as an account manager and the coordinator of finance. Prior to joining District 155, Bruso worked at a public accounting firm auditing and consulting for school districts, local governments and non-profit organizations. Bruso attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she earned a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and a master’s of accounting degree. Along with being a Certified Public Accountant, she also holds a Chief School Business Official Certification. Bruso is one of only eleven Illinois recipients of the excel award for outstanding score on the certified public accountant examination in 2004, and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma business honors fraternity and the Illinois CPA Society.
During Bruso’s tenure serving as the director of finance, District 155 has received national financial reporting awards for its Comprehensive Audited Financial Report (CAFR) from the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International and the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for the last six years.
Kimberly Dahlem joined District 155 in 2013 as the director of student services, and now serves as the assistant superintendent of student services and special education. She leads efforts for special education, student services, English language learning, and related services, and manages legal, financial, and supervisory dimensions of the division. Dahlem holds a bachelor’s degree in both education/special education and psychology from Illinois State University, and a master’s from Roosevelt University in reading and counseling, along with her Type 75 Administrative Certificate. She earned a director of special education certificate, and doctoral studies and superintendent's certificate from Aurora University. She also has experience as a special education teacher, school counselor, guidance department chair, and a director of student services for an elementary district.
Dahlem has served as a board member for several organizations including NAPSA (National Association of Pupil Service Administrators), LINK, and One Million Monarch. She received the Reaching Out and Building Bridges Award from the Illinois Principal Association, and she is passionate about providing relevant strategies and leading conversations at the local, state, and national level about student supports, women in leadership, and special education services.
Chief Technology Officer
George DiVenere joined the District 155 team in April 2009 as director of technology. DiVenere has a master's degree in information technology from Northwestern University, more than 20 years of IT leadership experience, and vast technical knowledge and experience. His professional experience from the private sector has helped District 155 initiate best-practice solutions to modernize the district's infrastructure and enhance student learning. DiVenere was recognized with an Award of Excellence for Website communication by the Illinois Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association in 2014.
Dr. Eric Ernd
Principal, Crystal Lake Central High School
Dr. Eric Ernd was named principal of Crystal Lake Central High School in 2018 after serving as vice principal at Central since 2010. Under his leadership, Central has been recognized as a nationally recognized high school by U.S. News and World Report and has been honored by AVID as a site of distinction. Recently, Central’s student services department received ASCA Ramp certification for supporting students and families. Prior to joining District 155, Ernd held several positions including athletic director and a physical education/health teacher. He attended Eastern Illinois University where he earned a bachelor’s degree, and continued to Governors State University where he earned a master’s degree in educational administration. Dr. Ernd then received his doctorate in educational leadership from National Louis University.
Dr. Steven Koch
Principal, Prairie Ridge High School
Dr. Steve Koch joined the district as an English teacher in 2001 and now serves as the principal at Prairie Ridge High School. During Koch’s time as principal, Prairie Ridge has been nationally recognized as a top high school by U.S. News & World Report and as a top STEM school by Newsweek. In 2015, the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition named Prairie Ridge High School as an Illinois Democracy School for providing students with experiences to be active contributing members of society. Koch earned a bachelor’s degree in teaching of English, and a master’s in English literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He later earned an educational specialist degree and his doctorate of education degree from Northern Illinois University. Dr. Koch holds his Type 75 Administrative Certificate and superintendent certification which he also obtained from Northern Illinois University. He has experience serving as English department chair, and coordinator of staff development.
Dr. Neil Lesinski
Principal, Cary-Grove High School
Dr. Neil Lesinski was named principal of Cary-Grove High School in 2017 after serving as the district’s director of curriculum & assessment. Under Lesinski’s leadership, Cary-Grove has been nationally recognized as a top high School by U.S. News and World Report and a top STEM high school by Newsweek. Lesinski earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Western Illinois University, and a master’s degree in educational leadership along with a Type 75 Certification from Concordia University Chicago. He then continued to earn his doctorate in education from Aurora University. Prior to joining District 155, Dr. Lesinski served as an English teacher, career technical education department chair, and English department chair at District 117.
Principal, Crystal Lake South High School
Joshua Nobilio joined District 155 in 2005 as a special education teacher and has served in his current role as the principal at Crystal Lake South since 2017. Crystal Lake South High School has been nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top high school under Nobilio’s leadership. He earned a bachelor’s degree in special education, LBS1, from Illinois State University, a Type 73 Certification for a masters of social work from Loyola University Chicago, and a Type 75 Certificate from Northern Illinois University. Nobilio also has experience as a social worker and student services coordinator in District 155.
In 2017, Nobilio received the Guidance and Admission Assembly Award from the College Board. He has presented at multiple conferences including the Illinois Principals Association State Conference, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals National Conference.
Director of Communications & Community Relations
Shannon Podzimek has served as the director of communications for District 155 since 2015. She is responsible for all district communications, and is passionate about sharing our district’s unique stories. In her role, she strengthens community partnerships and serves as the district spokesperson. She attended the University of Kansas where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism, and later earned her master's in strategic communications from the University of Iowa. Prior to joining District 155, she served as the communications specialist for School District U-46, the second largest district in the state of Illinois, providing communication support for 56 schools. Podzimek also has experience in producing television news for several top ABC and NBC affiliates across the country.
In 2019, District 155 received national recognition for Best School Website by the Internet Advertising Competition. The communications department has received 11 state and national recognitions from the Illinois School Public Relations Association and National School Public Relations Association for various publications, including the district's annual report.
Associate Superintendent of Human Resources
Jay Sargeant is the associate superintendent of human resources at District 155, and has been in his role since 2018. He started his career as a math teacher at Crystal Lake Central and Prairie Ridge in 1990, and has held positions in every school in the district. After 11 years of teaching, he became a dean of students at Crystal Lake South, then transitioned to serve as vice principal at Crystal Lake Central, before becoming the principal of Cary-Grove for a decade. Sargeant graduated with a bachelor’s in mathematics from Bradley University, and continued to earn a master’s in curriculum theory & design from Concordia University. He received his administrative certification from Northern Illinois University. Sargeant has also been honored as Principal of the Year by the Kishwaukee Region Illinois Principal Association.
Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services & Strategic Partnerships
Scott Shepard is the assistant superintendent of educational services and strategic partnerships and has been with District 155 since 2013 when he joined as the principal of Crystal Lake South High School. Prior to District 155, he spent 13 years as a principal in Marengo, as well as Springfield and West Point, Nebraska. Shepard attended Peru State College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in math education, and his master’s in admin principal certification from Doane College. He received his educational specialists degree and superintendent certification from Wayne State College. In 2011, Shepard was named the Kishwaukee Region Principal of the Year while at Marengo High School. He has served in several roles throughout his educational career as a teacher, athletic director, principal, and he coached football, track, and basketball.
Director of Operations
Troy Stinger joined District 155 in 2013 as a building operations supervisor at Cary-Grove High School before serving in his current role as the director of operations. He manages large projects, participates in long-term strategic planning for facilities management, performs daily oversight of internal systems, and has built strong rapport with contractors and construction personnel. Prior to joining District 155, Stinger has several years of experience as a certified professional maintenance manager and electrician. As a volunteer firefighter/EMT and tradesman, Stinger brings a unique perspective and ability to form strong relationships with District 155’s operations team.
Director of Teaching & Learning, Curriculum & Pathways
Matt Timmerman currently serves as the director of teaching and learning, curriculum and pathways. He is the liaison between information technology and the district’s 400-plus faculty members to implement, train, and support the integration of best-practice technology for the classroom, and is responsible for the new faculty induction program, faculty evaluations, and other staff development activities. He is a proud Cary-Grove graduate and began his education career in District 155 in 1998 as a math teacher at Prairie Ridge High School. Timmerman holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Iowa, a master’s in curriculum and instruction from North Central College, and a Type 75 Certification from Northern Illinois University. He also has served the district as the coordinator of instructional technology, and the director of staff development & instructional technology. He has also coached boys and girls tennis and basketball.
Dr. Kevin Werner
Chief Officer of Finance & Operations
Dr. Kevin Werner recently joined the district as the chief officer of finance and operations in July 2021. He has spent the last nine years serving as the chief financial officer for Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 and Prairie Grove District 46. Prior to his career in education, Werner was an accredited Certified Public Accountant in the private sector. He received a bachelor’s degree from Augustana College and his MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He has a Chief School Business Official endorsement, a Type 75 Certification, and an Educational Specialist degree from Northern Illinois University. Dr. Werner earned his Educational Doctorate from Aurora University, where he serves as a part-time adjunct professor, for his work investigating the impact of teacher salary and instructional spending per pupil on student achievement.