One of the most important decisions the Board of Education must make became a reality last week when Superintendent Renee Goier decided to retire at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.
The Board has already started the process of finding a replacement and announced it will begin to interview search organizations at its July 16 meeting. .
Russillo wrote four of the seven Board seats are up for election in April. He suggested the people elected then be charged with the decision rather than the current members. Board President Ellen London, whose term expires in April, believes it is in the District’s best interest to act now.
“We look to fill (superintendent’s positions) in November, assistants in January or February and principals in April,” London said referring to the time top candidates are usually available. If the board were to delay, she said, “there would be slim pickings. We would need an interim.”
London also indicated current law limits hiring retired superintendents on an interim basis.
Former District 113 Superintendent Linda Hanson of Highland Park left that position in 2003 and began School Exec Connect, a search firm, a year later. She served at the helm of Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools from 1999 to 2003.
Hanson agrees with the schedule London laid out. “In Illinois it is the trend to go earlier,” she said about the timing of a superintendent search. “Districts feel compelled to launch by the beginning of the school year.”
When the potential majority of a school board could change shortly after a decision is made, Hanson has helped districts implement a number of scenarios.
“This is a common problem. You don’t want to take yourself out of the picture,” Hanson said. “It takes a new board member a year to be comfortable with the job,” she added referring to the learning curve. “There are ways to be creative.”
Hanson has been involved with districts where a search firm is retained, a number of candidates interviewed and a short list developed by the time candidates for the board must file nominating petitions.
“They (candidates) can serve on a committee,” Hanson said describing search situations she has helped guide. Committee members can give input but the ultimate decision rests with the board which is in place, she stressed.