Bourbonnais Elementary School District #53 School Bus

BOURBONNAIS — Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53 will have new principals at two of its five schools next fall, including a teacher who is moving up the ranks into the administrative position.

Jeremy Outsen, a social studies teacher for Bourbonnais Upper Grade Center, will be the school’s principal starting July 1.

“That’s an exciting transition for us to be able to bring a teacher out of the classroom into the administration,” Superintendent Adam Ehrman said at a recent school board meeting.

Ehrman also said Outsen is truly “one of us” within the school district, having attended Bourbonnais schools himself.

“He is a teacher here in the building; he knows the facility, but he also graduated from this school as well,” Ehrman said. “So we’re really excited next year to bring him in on our leadership team and really keep things moving forward.”

Outsen replaces Shannon Swilley, who is leaving to become principal at Central Middle School in Evergreen Park School District 124. Swilley became BUGC principal in the 2018-19 school year after being associate principal for six years. Swilley also previously was a dean of students at Kankakee High School.

Catherine Lark, who was an assistant principal at Mokena Elementary School, was hired to become principal at Noel LeVasseur Elementary.

Lark replaces Mary Ann Bicknell, who became principal of Noel LeVasseur in the 2018-19 school year, and was principal at Liberty Intermediate for 11 years prior.

Bicknell said she plans to move to be closer to family in Florida, where she will be teaching.

She said she looks forward to teaching again as well as being in the warm weather.

“I didn’t know I was going to [move] this early, but things lined up perfectly for me to do it now,” she said.

The district’s other three principals include Bret Pignatiello at Liberty, Shirley Padera at Shepard and Jackie Tingley at Shabbona.


Stephanie Markham joined the Daily Journal in February 2020 as the education reporter. She focuses on school boards as well as happenings and trends in local schools. She earned her B.A. in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.