109 Promises Open Process To Hire Superintendent

Switch to public interviews of search firm becomes first step.

The search for a new superintendent to replace will be an open and participatory process, according to information on the District’s website.

The first step in the process will be the public interviews of three search firms at 5 p.m. Monday as part of the regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting. After the interviews, there will be an opportunity for public comment.

Those interviews were originally planned for an executive session before and after the public portion of the meeting. A change was made earlier this week. “There was no reason not to,” Board President Ellen London told Patch Monday.

After the interviews Monday, the Board plans to hire the firm in August. After that the firm will conduct community research to develop a candidate profile, according to the website.

“The search firm will lead some sort of ‘listening’ program to reach out to the community,” a letter sent to the District families said. “That research will lead to the development of a clear, specific profile of the best candidate for superintendent.”

Later in the fall, the firm will screen candidates. By winter of 2013, final candidates will be screened and a new superintendent announced, according to the letter and website. The new leader will start work July 1 next year.

On Monday, a group of parents began circulating petitions asking for a delay in the search until the April election when four of the Board’s seven seats will be filled by the voters.  .

Of the candidates potentially up for reelection, London is undecided about another term along with Debbie Muller and Ron Worth. One member, Mike Rosenbaum, will not run.

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John Russillo July 13, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Obviously this is a reaction to our petition, and a weak one at that. They would not have done this otherwise. Focus group sessions in the past have been useless. They are merely dog and pony shows. Judging by the strong support of our petition in just 4 short days, they will have to make a decision to continue to delay and stonewall, or to actually listen to the people of the district. This should be interesting.
David Griffin July 13, 2012 at 01:53 PM
As a former board member involved in hiring a superintendent, you cannot wait til after April to begin. You will not get a good candidate to begin in July. David Griffin
John Russillo July 13, 2012 at 02:10 PM
That's why our first choice is to hire an interim.
RB July 13, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Don't even hire one. Combine 109 into 113. Cut the overhead and adjustment that students must have when they change districts. We're a little town with way too many taxing Districts.
Harry Steindler July 13, 2012 at 09:59 PM
RB - is that your only answer to every problem?
Richard Heller July 13, 2012 at 10:04 PM
David, I agree with you that April is too late to start the search. The way I read this change is that Ellen recognizes that the way they conducted business in the past is no longer acceptable. At this point, she probably sees that she has more to gain than lose by opening up the decision making process to the public. So, I'm willing to take this announcement, guardedly, but at face value. All of us need to keep in mind that there are good people on the board. But there are also those who have placed expediency over openness. Despite many voices to the contrary, the board isn't evil. Any board or administrator is going to try to populate their organization with like-minded people. This is expedient. This is politics. The problem, as I see it, has been that it has been easier for the board to listen to one voice than go out to see what is actually happening. And, from Renee's point of view, it was easier for her to be the single voice. I suspect that her marching orders were more financially driven than driven by educational excellence. This may explain why the new Caruso principle is a promoted assistant principle, rather than hiring one with experience, (contrary to the suggestion of each parent focus group) and why they filled the HR position with a transfer, rather than hiring an HR professional. I pray that the next election will help us re-balance the scales.
RB July 13, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Harry, not really. It is the answer to a lot of Deerfield's looming fiscal problems. Let's take the Park District for instance. A recent retiree is earning $13,000 per month in pension payments. We have the Village hoping to purchase a stump grinder and wondering if the Park District might chip (no punintended) and help buy it. We have Village people mowing Village Parkways right next to Park District land. We have public schools built on Park District land. Both can't seem to have enough labor so they also hire contractors to cut some trees and water plantings. The Park District spent a lot of money on Woodland Park. Have you seen the results? The Eco friendly paver parking lot is a joke and they did not adhere to Village ordinance regarding protection of huge nice trees. Somehow this Village was getting by with what it had....like manyof us in this economy. The School districts have two admin staffs and buildings. One is Union, one is not. 109 went through a huge fiasco and 113 has been stable and highly rated. Many people (me included) grew up in towns larger than Deerfield and somehow managed without 2 school districts doubling up. The small 19,000 resident Village of Deerfield has a Village staff, a Township staff, a library stands, a park district staff, and all the associated overhead including equipment, pensions etc. it's time to call a stop to all these taxing bodies. I have not even brought up the State, County and Feds or even water district. I hope u see issue.
John Russillo July 13, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Whoa, Richard. She's not opening the "decision making process" up to the public. She's inviting public comment. Let's not confuse the two. You make a great point, though. This Board is stocked with attorneys, "consultants", bankers, and businessmen. They are focused on running the district like a business. They have little knowledge of the inner workings of an educational system. That's why we need to get a greater diversity of talent on the Board, plus we need some members who are also dedicated parents of children in the district.
barry July 13, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Richard....I respectfully disagree with you. I too viewed the cup as half full whenit came to Goir and her cronies and devisivness. But I have seen too much out of her, listened to too much spin and bull, and remember, Richard what she has done to this district. Her and London. OUCH! There are several good people on this board, and as of now I will support them if they decide to run again. I also do not agree with David. The very best candidates will be available AFTER the election. Top people won't apply here given the environment. And why select only one search firm? I say make them compete if they want the commision by sending the best o er here. But listening to the community few people will trust any choice made by this board....and any candidate should know Goir making the selection is definatly NOT an endorsment anyone of quality would want.
Curious Resident July 14, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Did anyone look at the BOE Community Packet on the website...first board meeting was moved from 7pm to 5pm. Second, the assistant superintendent of learning is resigning effective at the end of the day Monday???? Why do I feel like all these resignations and promotions are being done as a keep your job and make parents happy?????
John Russillo July 14, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Also in the Community Packet is the proposed 2012-2013 budget. Here is a good example of how this Board and Supt likes to spin the public. As many of you know, much has been made of the large balance in the educational fund. Many feel there is no need for it to be so high. In past budgets, there has been a page entitled "Fund Balances". The wording of that page has been EXACTLY the same for the last 3 budgets. The GFOA recommends a minimum of 16% of operating revenues, the ISBE recommends 25%, etc. This year, however, an EXTRA sentence was added proclaiming "School districts should strive to maintain a ratio closer to 50%." Huh? Interesting that this sentence magically appeared this year, eh? Who is advocating that? Looks like somebody is trying to spin the public into thinking the ISBE is recommending 50% when that is clearly not the case. As a matter of fact, a call to the ISBE will be in order on Monday morning.
Bob Mavet July 15, 2012 at 04:33 AM
John, your comments are right on the money. Excellence is not linked to an artificial timeframe based upon expediency. Deerfield is a plum district that will benefit from a qualified professional who is in tune with the community. Prospective candidates are tracking events in the district and will respond to a proper search process. The concept of an interim appointment is prudent and will provide a transition from the atmosphere of distrust exhibited in the recently concluded negotiations with the teachers and response to parents regarding insuring proper levels of special education services. Kudos for keeping this issue in the public eye and providing due diligence regarding fiscal responsibility!
John Russillo July 20, 2012 at 01:25 PM
An update to my previous post. When asked about this at the board meeting, I was assured that the 50% number came from the ISBE. I called the ISBE and they said they issue no such guidance. When I again questioned the administration, they admitted that I was correct and they will update the budget to reflect the 25% number as the only ISBE guidance.


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