New school chief search narrows : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|New school chief search narrows|
|Board held interviews with two applicants at OEHS this week|
|by Lyle R. Rolfe|
If there was any concern about finding a new superintendent for the Oswego School District, Bill Walsh, school board president, assured his board colleagues Monday night there is no shortage of applicants.
Earlier this year the board hired the search firm of Ray and Associates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa to find a new superintendent.
Walsh said Monday that Gary Ray, president of Ray and Associates, told him 221 people from 36 states have expressed an interest in the position.
The position became available when present Superintendent Dr. Dan O'Donnell announced on Feb. 20, he would be resigning June 30 at the end of his three-year contract.
Walsh said Ray told the board 60 prospective candidates from 22 states filled out applications for the position.
Ray and his staff reviewed the applications and gave the board what his firm believes were the top ten candidates, Walsh said.
"The board then worked very diligently for many hours going through a very mechanical and very thoughtful process to come up with the top six candidates that we then interviewed," he said.
The six applicants were narrowed down to two who were to be interviewed Tuesday and Wednesday night this week in the Community Room of Oswego East High School, 1525 Harvey Road, Oswego.
"Then we'll continue on from that process," Walsh added.
He did not say when they expect to announce the hiring of the next superintendent.
Board members originally had planned to hold the final interviews at a Naperville restaurant outside the district. But the board decided to hold the meetings in one of the district's buildings after Kendall County State's Attorney's Eric Weis questioned if the Naperville meeting location would meet the requirements of the Illinois Open Meetings Act.
The OEHS Community Room is where regular board meetings are held.
The salary for a new superintendent has been set at $235,000 on a recommendation from Ray.
Ray said at an earlier meeting that the salary range will help "... to get someone that meets the board's expectations."
"This is a middle (salary) range and it could go up or down depending on the qualifications of whoever is chosen. And this salary leaves room for growth," he said.
O'Donnell's salary when hired, was $220,000 inclusive of required contributions to the Illinois Teachers Retirement System, teachers health insurance security fund and Medicare.
His salary and benefits were frozen at this level all three years and he voluntarily took six furlough (non-paid) days last year to help meet budget, resulting in a salary cut for the 2010-11 school year.
Since the current board was elected in April 2011, in addition to O'Donnell, three administrators and two principals have left the district.
Todd Colvin, associate superintendent for administration, announced his resignation in January. He accepted a position as associate superintendent of human resources for Township High School District 214, which serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove, Mt. Prospect, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Wheeling, and Des Plaines.
Dr. Marsha Hollis, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning announced late last year that she would be retiring at the end of the school year.
Tim Neubauer, assistant superintendent for business and finance, announced in March he was leaving the district on June 30. He accepted a position as assistant superintendent for business services for the Barrington Community School District in northwest suburban Barrington on July 1.
Tracy Murphy, a 17-year employee and principal of Thompson Junior High for 11 years, and Kevin Lipke, Long Beach Elementary School principal for five years, both announced last month that they were accepting positions at other districts.
Board members last month hired Paul O'Malley of Skokie for Neubauer's position.
He was one of more than 20 candidates who applied and four who were interviewed for the position. His salary will be $180,000, up from Neubauer's salary of $156,320.
This was the first time an administrator other than a superintendent was interviewed only by school board members rather than the superintendent.
According to the Illinois Association of School Boards, school board members usually only interview superintendent candidates and allow superintendents to interview and recommend who they would like hired as their assistants.
Walsh agreed that it was unusual for the board to interview for this position, but said it had been done in other districts in the past.
Walsh said Colvin's and Hollis' positions will be filled after the new superintendent is hired so that person can have input into who fills those spots.
Walsh said more than 40 candidates have applied for Colvin's position according to the Illinois Association of School Boards which was hired to search for his replacement.
In his letter of resignation, O'Donnell said, "Due to the difference in philosophy of leadership between the current Board of Education and the Board that hired me three years ago, I think it is in the best interest of the students and staff that I step down at the end of the current year. This will allow the board to conduct a search for a successor whose philosophy is more closely aligned with their vision of district leadership."
As of this time, O'Donnell has no plans for the future, but is considering various other possibilities some of which could be education related.