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District 109 Superintendent Search Moves Ahead

Search firm conducts focus group sessions with community groups and the general public.

Consultants assembling a picture of the ideal superintendent for Deerfield Public Schools District 109 to replace Renee Goier who retires in June have talked to more than a dozen groups representing sections of the community as well as the general public.

Representatives of ECRA, the search firm charged with helping the District 109 Board of Education find the right fit have been listening to people and asking questions to prepare the picture they will paint at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at the regularly scheduled Board meeting.

Earlier: School Board Takes First Steps in Superintendent Search

At one of those meetings for the general public Tuesday at Shepard Middle School, residents suggested the ideal candidate will be a communicator sensitive to the needs of students, parents, teachers, administrators and the Board.

“We have great, caring teachers,” Dick Heller, one of the people at Tuesday’s meeting, said. “There were a lot of hard feelings when we had our almost strike last year. We should look for someone who can get cooperation of everyone.”

When asked by Kim Perkins and Hank Gmitro of ECRA, Heller made it clear the superintendent must be able to measure the performance of the teachers and administrators but did not want student testing to be a major determinant of evaluation.

“There should be a focus on continued improvement, measured improvement,” Heller said. “You can’t improve what you can’t measure. The superintendent should see this as a laboratory. If it works you keep it,” he added referring to measures he hopes the new leader will take.

Gmitro and Perkins explained they have been conducting a large series of meeting like Tuesday’s to determine the right person to lead the District. Those findings will be presented at the Oct. 15 Board meeting.

“We’ll build an ideal set of characteristics,” Gmitro said. “Our job is to screen potential applicants and present five or six to be interviewed by the Board and help narrow the choices for a second interview.”

In addition to the two meetings with the general public, the consultants met with the District Caucus, people who have taken petition packets to become candidates to run for the Board in April, the Parent Teacher Organization President’s Council, community leaders, representatives of the Deerfield Education Association teachers’ union as well as leadership, current Board members, the special education parents group, a team of people representing administrators, members of the 109 Foundation and others.

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John Russillo October 04, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Early indications are that the consultant heard a VERY consistent message from all community groups. I guess the "vocal few" has spread to the "vocal many". I specifically asked them what was the role of the current Superintendent in the search and they look at me puzzled and said "nothing". So I have no earthly idea why our Supt would be speaking to parent groups about the search and asking them to spread the "positive" message. Unless of course the Board will be asking for her blessing before hiring the next Supt. That would be special.
Curious Resident October 04, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Mr. Russillo, would you really be surprised to hear that, that would occur? Let's be serious she is going to definitely have a role in this hiring process. She has a role in everything!!!! It is disgusting to me actually. I continue to state that this superintendent and school board made this district from awesome to dishonest and no trust among the faculty members and community. Keep it up Goier...we all know you can care less about the staff members and students and families of the district you serve! Are you sure you don't want to step down and let us have an interim superintendent now?
John Russillo October 04, 2012 at 01:38 PM
No, I would not be surprised at all. The problem is she and the board staunchly believe that they have served the best interests of the district and those of us that speak up are just grumblers and complainers. It's obvious we are not going to change their minds on this issue. So all we can do is continue to raise issues and inform the community as best we can. I was heartened to see that parents have been active in giving feedback to the consultant. There are about 250 online responses plus the in-person forums. The consultant also said that most districts make the Supt profile public. Now CR, do you think our district will make the profile public info? Our job now is to hold the board's feet to the fire and make sure the Supt they chose reflects the qualities that were set forth by the community.
Barbara October 04, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I hope that some of these active parents will invest the time and energy to run for and serve on the District 109 school board and become active in PTO's.
John Russillo October 04, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Absolutely. Several are running.
Katie Bittner October 04, 2012 at 04:58 PM
The board of education is supposed to represent the community. If they are really interested in fulfilling that role, they should continue to actively involve community members in this process. This should involve community forums that present the candidates; giving parents and community members the opportunity to meet the finalists before a decision made. Now that is real community involvement but I doubt it will actually occur in Deerfield. Most of what we do is for "show", no real action plan or goals or timelines that anyone adheres to. The Strategic Plan, for example, would love to have an update on when the groups last met and what the results were. But we just spend thousands of dollars on consultants and find out communication is a pervasive problem throughout the district but what has been done to address this? We are all still awaiting to find out... And we will keep waiting.
Curious Resident October 04, 2012 at 09:46 PM
It would be fantastic if they did! However, if they do, I'd be shocked! I mean I am sure that they can turn it around and spin it positively, but anyone that is smart should be able to read through the lines. I am standing my ground and begging Goier to step down now. We could have an interim superintendent in by January. She could finish through winter vacation. Take her bow and go quietly into the sunset!
RB October 04, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Let's just combine 109 and the Deerfield portion of 113. Cut overhead and ease the student transition from Middle School to High School. A town the size of Deerfield does not justify two Districts and all the extra associated expense. A Community approach requires one District since we are one community.
John Russillo October 04, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Still waiting for you to form the committee. I will gladly join.
Dan Jenks October 06, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Why don't we combine Districts 112 and 109 into District 113?
RB October 06, 2012 at 11:52 PM
112 and 113 are more multi community than 109 and 113. I'm suggesting building a community school District.
Dan Jenks October 07, 2012 at 05:51 AM
RB, what do you mean 112 and 113 are more “multi community” than 109? Is this some form of Code for Highwood? Is it because we have Hispanic, lower income residents in District 112? It’s just so convenient to define HP, Highwood and Fort Sheridan out of your community. Honestly, you are the worst type of liberal – someone who sanctimoniously demands that others pay up but when it comes to actually reaching in your pocket to help others (read the less fortunate parts of District 113), you can’t be bothered and wish you didn’t have to.

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