D128 hires new administrator – Mr. Ben Rodriguez


Mr. Ben Rodriguez is the new Director of College and Career Readiness. The creation of this position was a key element of one part of the district’s strategic plan. Photo courtesy of Mr. Rodriguez.

District 128 recently hired Mr. Ben Rodriguez to serve as the director of college and career readiness, a new position created under the D128 strategic plan to advance the “Explore multiple paths’’ goal.
According to Dr. Yesenia Sanchez, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, the D128 school board and administration decided to create a new position due to the urgency of having career pathways available to the class of 2027.
Mr. Rodriguez’s main responsibilities will be adding additional career pathways to D128, which he has done at Barrington High School in his current position as Assistant Principal/Coordinator of Career Pathways. He will be a “unifying force” between the LHS and VHHS CRCs, according to Ms. Hessel, D128 Board of Education President, and will “spend time equally in both buildings.”
Mr. Rodriguez has been very successful at advancing Barrington’s unique career pathways, and he hopes to do the same for LHS and VHHS.
“[Barrington has] established an aviation pathway for students to become pilots. We have also developed an opportunity for an educator pathway so students who want to become teachers get dual credit and get opportunities there,” explained Mr. Rodriguez.
While working at Barrington, Mr. Rodriguez gained experience that he is bringing to D128.
“[I learned] to collaborate, talk, listen and understand different perspectives, because no two experiences are the same,” he said. “We all have different stories and different aspirations. It’s important to just acknowledge and be real with those.”
Ms. Hessel said Rodriguez’s experience and success at Barrington, a similar high school based on demographics and socio-economic status, made him a great hire.
Going into the position, Rodriguez’s main priority is making sure D128 students are fully prepared for post-secondary success in whatever they are interested in.
“How can we help equip students with experiences and skills and whatever pathway that they’re looking to go down?” questioned Mr. Rodriguez. “If a student is thinking about becoming a chef, for example, how do we get them the real hands-on culinary experiences [they need]?”
Additionally, he is looking forward to working with the student body and district.
“I’m excited to work with everyone,” said Mr. Rodriguez. “I’m really excited to start to learn about the culture, the community, and values of the district and of the schools to understand how I can help support the awesome work that’s happening here already.”