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Search begins for new HR leader

6/24/2014

Chief Human Resources Officer Angel Contreras is leaving his role in Rockford Public Schools to rejoin GE Aviation in a leadership role in Mississippi. The School Board tonight approved hiring Lori Burke of Burke Consulting Group as interim chief human resources officer to work through Oct. 31. District leaders hope to hire a new Chief HR Officer by Oct. 1, leaving a month of transition time. The contract includes a salary of $38,000 to be paid over four months.

Burke, an East High School graduate, is familiar with RPS. She helped with the leadership transition from interim Superintendent Robert Willis to Superintendent Ehren Jarrett. She has also worked with RPS administration in strategic planning, staff salary ranges and pay analysis, and staff placement and training.

Burke has worked in HR for 25 years in roles ranging from organization development consultant to chief administrative officer. She spent 10 years at Sundstrand, 11 years at AMCORE Financial and three years at Savant Capital Management.

Contreras worked in RPS nearly two years. He came to RPS in August 2012 from Rockford-based GE Aviation, where he was HR director. "I see a lot of opportunity for the future of our schools, and I worked with a lot of passionate people who can make the changes happen," Contreras said. "So many people are supporting the culture change not just within RPS, but within the entire community."

Superintendent Ehren Jarrett said he’s sorry to see Contreras leave. "I am proud of what he has accomplished, and I believe the department is ready for a good transition and continued momentum."

During his time at RPS, Contreras helped restructure the HR Department so employees are trained to handle all HR tasks. Employees set up offices in schools, where they not only take the pulse of a school, but develop relationships with employees. RPS is also much more strategic and aggressive in its recruitment, thanks to Contreras. Contreras and his team also restructured benefits programming for RPS labor unions, and revamped hiring, pay, orientation and training for substitute teachers.