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Rickels to retire June 30

Tabor takes on Lakeview duties

SOLON– Jodi Rickels will retire as Lakeview Elementary principal June 30, and Solon Intermediate School (SIS) Principal Jessica Tabor will absorb Rickels’ duties for the 2020-2021 school year.
Solon Community School District Superintendent Davis Eidahl made the announcement Tuesday, April 14, in a letter to the community.
Eidahl congratulated Rickels “for all the achievement attained with her leadership by Lakeview students and staff” and thanked her for “all of her contributions to the community and success of our students.”
Rickels spent 12 years as a music instructor and guidance counselor in the Solon schools from 1984 until 1996 and returned to the district in 2008 as Lakeview principal.
A native of Olin, she received her undergraduate degree in music education from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, and her graduate degree in elementary administration from the University of Iowa. She previously served as principal at Horace Mann Elementary in Iowa City.
Eidahl said the district had hoped to find a replacement for Rickels duplicating the same comprehensive process used in the SIS principal search that brought Tabor to Solon.
The search firm surveyed the school board, administration, teachers and parents to better understand the district’s values, he explained, and recruited candidates that would be a great fit,
Finalists interviewed with administration, teachers, parents and even students, Eidahl said, and numerous stakeholders met the candidates and provided feedback. The process involved a wide variety of stakeholders, and proved to be highly successful, he noted.
“Unfortunately, the circumstances changed with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Eidahl wrote. “The district continued to explore the option of using the search firm, but felt too many variables would limit the district’s ability to take the same comprehensive approach.”
Those variables included restrictions on social gathering, the impact of the pandemic on stakeholder interest and concerns that dedicated candidates would not consider a move during a crisis, he stated.
The decision was made to expand Tabor’s role, Eidahl said.
Tabor has “deep instructional knowledge, strong-established relationships, and an understanding of the culture, traditions and success of Solon Schools,” he said.
“She understands the unique position we find ourselves in and is committed to providing SIS and Lakeview with the kind of support, leadership and collaboration that will allow us to continue our momentum as a pre-kindergarten through fifth grade district team, as well as respecting and nurturing the individual strengths and needs of each school,” he said. “These characteristics will provide for a highly successful transition.”
To support students and staff with the transition, a new school manager position will be added, Eidahl said. The school manager will assist in maintaining a positive, safe school environment by enforcing school rules, supporting the social emotional needs of students, and acting as a liaison to parents, community and staff.