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Regional official takes state job

Clemens to oversee nearly $2 billion in grants

DIXON – Amy Jo Clemens, regional superintendent of schools for Lee and Ogle counties, is taking a state job overseeing nearly $2 billion in federal education grants.

For the last 9 years, Clemens has been the elected superintendent of the Lee-Ogle Regional Office of Education, which inspects school buildings, handles teacher certification issues and provides other help to school districts.

On Aug. 16, she will become assistant superintendent for the Center for Innovation and Improvement for the state Board of Education.

In a statement, Clemens said she learned of the state job as a result of a "series of conversations" this spring. She said she has loved being superintendent.

"I am confident in two things: that you will be able to continue to count on the Lee-Ogle ROE staff to support the education of our citizens, and that our paths will cross again," she said in her statement.

In July 2015, the Whiteside and Lee-Ogle regional offices will combine as part of a statewide consolidation. Whiteside County Superintendent Bob Sondgeroth had said he wouldn't seek another term in 2014 if it involved running against Clemens in the consolidated region.

Now that Clemens is leaving, he said Monday that he would consider his options for 2014.

"Amy Jo has worked tirelessly," Sondgeroth said. "She will be a great asset for the state."

Lee County Board Chairman Rick Ketchum and Ogle County Board Chairman Kim Gouker will appoint Clemens' replacement, who will serve until the current term ends June 30, 2015, according to her statement.

Paul McMahon is the assistant Lee-Ogle superintendent.

"Hopefully, he'll be appointed to fill her spot," Sondgeroth said.

At the state level, Clemens will take the position previously held by Monique Chism, who left the job about 6 months ago.

Chism resigned to become director of the U.S. Department of Education's Student Achievement and School Accountability program, which administers $15.6 billion annually in federal program funds.

In her final year with the state, Chism made $100,000. Information on what Clemens will make wasn't immediately available.

As regional superintendent, Clemens' salary is $101,000.

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