Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Breaking News: New Superintendent to be Announced on May 2

Moments ago, Board President Marty Turek sent an email to D181 families and staff announcing that on May 2 at 5 PM at a special board meeting that will be held at Elm School, the new superintendent will be approved, followed by a light reception.

The text of the email is copied below:

"Dear District 181 Staff and Families,

The Board of Education has called a Special meeting for Friday, May 2 at Elm School (5:00 p.m.) for the purpose of approving the hiring of the new superintendent. We are very excited to welcome our new educational leader for District 181! While information about the finalist cannot be provided in advance of the meeting, please be assured that immediately following Board approval on Friday, we will share comprehensive information about this individual’s experience and education, as well as an overview of the Board’s search process.

The meeting will be public; any community member is invited to attend. We are planning a light reception after the meeting. A formal “meet and greet” event and celebration will be planned for a future date, along with school visits, and other opportunities to welcome our incoming superintendent.

On behalf of the Board of Education, we share our appreciation to all who helped support the search process. We look forward to a strong community partnership as we work together now and for the future of District 181.


Marty Turek
Board President"


Anonymous said...

I guess this is one meeting that the community doesn't have to RSVP to attend.

HMS Parent said...

Whoever is hired better have a strong background in curriculum or all hell is going to break loose.

Anonymous said...

And already you're looking to attack. How about we all give this new Superintendent a fair shake?? People lose respect for you when you're regularly on the negative news bandwagon. I think it's time for this blog to resign and let the new superintendent make a name for him/herself without the cloud of negative chatter on an anonymous blog. Let's face it HMS Parent, you aren't going to be happy no matter who gets the position, you love the drama.

Anonymous said...

It is not an attack on anyone to suggest that our new superintendent better have a strong curriculum background. I don't know where you have been all year or for the last couple of years for that matter, but D181 is in a huge curriculum mess. The new leader better be able to come in and understand what has happened and what needs to be done to fix the programs that are hurting students. If the person does not have a curriculum background, they will be ill-equipped. Of course, for the sake of all D181 students, I hope that this person will somehow manage to right the sinking ship, but it will be much harder if he/she doesn't have a strong background in curriculum.

Anonymous said...

Anyone care to put some speculation on odds that -

Superintendent has experience in another district's central office?

Superintendent is from Illinois ?

Superintendent's district has passed a referendum for increase to operations and/or building ?

Superintendent has background with special education ?

Superintendent has championed learning enrichment ?

1:1 3:2 9:2 2:5 16:1

Anonymous said...

I don't really understand the last post but I think we should hold judgement until Friday. Also let's give the new guy a chance. We really need this one to work and we cannot hold him/her responsible for schuster et all's sins.

Anonymous said...

As the parent of a 4th grader, I certainly am willing to give the new superintendent a chance. But I will remain skeptical because of our current BOE. They are not to be trusted. It seems like they are all on the same page these days with hardly any questions or comments at meetings. Status quo.
Let's hope the new leader will make a case for necessary change in the district.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, no one could possibly be as bad as Renee Schuster: As long as the new person shows up for work, tells the truth, admits mistakes and knows how to cooperate and compromise, our district will be in a much better place than it has been for the last few years. It may take months or a year to judge his or her character, but if the board asks the right questions and keeps their standards high, all should go well. I am hopeful that the board has learned from their mistakes too, and that they won't be quite as trusting next time.

Anonymous said...

D181 needs a new superintendent who has a background in curriculum! Someone who will actually analyze data and be honest and transparent. Someone who will understand our demographics and apply appropriate philosophies. Someone who is not going to use our kids as lab rats for his ideological experimentation.

Anonymous said...

Piggy backing onto last comment: Someone who will get rid of the mad scientist running the harmful experiments.

Anonymous said...

And the unqualified data analyst

jay_wick said...

While it is somewhat encouraging to see how quickly the BOE moved to fill this important position, the degree to which any one person can be effective in restoring our district to the right path is limited.

One would hope that the BOE has hired the kind of person that is not afraid to remind the elected representatives of the responsibilities they have while also truly leading the rest of the staff in a direction that is consistent with the desires of the community. Those are qualities that are unfortunately rather uncommon.

It will also be telling to see just how strong a commitment to transparency the new superintendent has -- from the problems that there have been with math acceleration, to the questions about how much time staff has dedicated toward matters tangential to their employment, to the issues regarding facilities, the damage would have been far less if things were discussed honestly instead of the futile attempts to hide the truth.

The funny thing too is that for all the talk from some folks had about reigning in spending while they were campaigning it will interesting to see what sort of expenditure will come with this new hire -- for anyone relocating this is not an inexpensive area to find a home. If one has sufficiently invested in their own education and has considerable experience it would be foolish not to expect a handsome salary. Fortunately this BOE did not terminate any contract early which would have been a needless expense, yet one wonders if perhaps the elected BOE had earlier fostered a better relationship between themselves and our departing superintendent, or simply decided that things were not moving the right direction might not it have been possible for the district to be in better shape than it currently is; it is hard to imagine any significant shift in self awareness now shining upon the board majority... Their action / inaction seem to have resulted in millions of additional costs while performance has declined.

While I am personally hopeful that this hire will help the district move in a direction that results in a better education for more students, the real reasons for our district's failures still seem to be in place.

Anonymous said...

If our new superintendent is reading this blog (and I hope he or she is), I would like to say welcome to our community. Our community is waiting eagerly for your arrival. We will welcome you with open arms if you are dedicated, work hard, have curriculum and data expertise, and listen to the community. We have not always been attack dogs, but the events of the last three years have hardened us. We will back off upon your arrival and give you a chance.

I would encourage you to listen to 4 BOE meeting podcasts in there entirety - May 28, 2013, November 4, 2013, February 24, 2014, and March 10, 2014. Please be warned that they run long - almost 4 hours each. Public comments are very interesting in these meetings - but in two instances they do not take place until almost 2 hours into the meetings (against BOE guidelines).

Welcome to our community!! You have a lot of work in front of you, but together we can turn this ship around.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Mr Wick. While the new superintendent can be a superman or superwoman, the fact is there are many structural and ideological issues with the current board of elected officials. No person will be able to change this. Their wrongheaded beliefs are too entrenched as evidenced by their public statements on everything from the failed learning for all plan to parents being happy because they don't show up to board meetings. And while I would like to believe the super's magic wand can wave all this nonsense away, the reality is he/she will only be able to do so much with the disaster that awaits.
Thanks to our great board of education for allowing our district to sink to this level!

Anonymous said...

Come on guys, let's give this guy a chance! Justin Horne turned Monroe around. This guy can do the same thing. We have hit rock bottom we only have up to go. Try to be optimistic. And BOE elections are in the spring so we can get rid of the worst three then.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Monroe parent and I will wait to render judgement on Horne until I see my child's test scores, which were pitiful last year. I agree we can only go up.

jay_wick said...

Folks, anybody that thinks things cannot get worse is badly out of touch.

Anyone that has been tracking the various efforts to create a new middle school and abandon HMS for over a decade knows that could easily be a $30M cost that would have no educational benefits for the children of the district. To be sure, previous efforts to pull a rug over the mess made by people that did not have a clue how to fix leaks came to a head this past winter and the district paid through to nose to fix them at double speed. The majority of the expenditures scheduled for this summer are to REDO work done last summer that has been proven to have made the problem WORSE! Those mistakes also placed ALL the district's middle school students and teachers at a large disadvantage while their schedules were turned upside down. There is an organized effort to destroy faith in the viability of the HMS facility despite literally millions spent to make it cleaner and safer than any other building in the district -- any one that has paid attention can see that plainly.

When it comes to things that other schools districts have been wrestling with from Common Core to the state funding crisis our district is now well behind the curve. I have little doubt our once esteemed and quite rare position of having each and every one of our district's schools recognized by for Academic Excellence on the annual ISBE Honor Roll is almost certainly in jeopardy.

The BOE is currently in contract negotiations with the certified staff -- will there be any movement toward getting agreement on desperately needed changes in how teacher's receive training without negatively impacting the in-classroom instructional time of students, wildly increasing costs or disrupting the schedules of families? Time will tell...

If the new superintendent sees Illinois Open Meeting Act as something that they can deviously try to work around instead of the absolute minimum standards for transparency, parent and community input as a nuisance and financial scrutiny as an annoyance I can only imagine how much worse things will get.

We've seen the majority of this BOE squander resources recklessly, be utterly inattentive to staff that is less forthcoming in their efforts to promote social goals over academic performance, tolerate staff that is not living up to expectations and generally stand by mute as parents and community members have pleaded for something to restore the district to its once enviable place atop a bevy of high performing districts in the western suburbs.

Is there any evidence that this is the BOE to hire the kind of superintendent needed? I honestly cannot say what I fear more, a "yes man" that tries to go along with the rudderless of the BOE while letting the district continue to drift to the whims of existing staff, maybe a "white washer" that tries to tell us how wonderful our half-empty glasses are, a tyrant that seizes upon the 'happy to be clueless' majority of wishy-washy BOE and uses the district as their plaything, someone that pulls a disappearing act and makes themselves scarce...
15 Ways to Identify Bad Leaders |

Sure there is chance we'll get a real leader -- 5 Characteristics of Great Leaders
Vince Lombardi once said, “Contrary to the opinion of many people, leaders are not born. Leaders are made, and they are made by effort and hard work.”

Anonymous said...

As an "empty nester" who has two successful D181 graduates, I sincerely wish the new superintendent the best of luck and hope the D181 community welcomes our new educational leader with encouragement, support and cooperation. If the D181 community genuinely wants to support the new superintendent, please search for knowledgable, dedicated, hardworking, open minded individuals who value excellence in education to run for the BOE in the next election. Also, the Hinsdale Village Caucus D181 Committee MUST do their job in interviewing, screening and recommending individuals to run for the D181 BOE if they are going to be considered a credible organization. Maybe the Hinsdale Village Caucus should hold a town meeting and gather information from their constituents about village concerns, library suggestions and D181 issues before their groups begins their deliberations. It never hurts to have more information when making important decisions.

jay_wick said...

The caucus has generally been an organization that enhances the quality of candidates ; there is always great difficulty in finding suitable candidates for office and too often when folks strong arm their way into office the results are disastrous.

Given the increasingly harried lives that folks lead, it may be wise for some evolution of the caucus process. Devoting an enormous amount of time near the election is not very practical for many community members. One cannot help but wonder how different things in the district might be if only caucus-backed candidates were serving...

The "cicada-like" nature of the caucus, having a flurry of activity and then going dormant, seems perhaps not the best manner of finding folks with sufficient awareness of issues / ability to intelligently tackle the many pressing concerns that new BOE members face upon the election.

Town meetings are rather quaint but they generally do promote a bit more decorum than quasi-anonymous internet blogs... Unfortunately the information developed at such meeting is worse than ephemeral --like a bad game of "telephone" the topics discussed and various responses get more distorted with every re-telling. At least online sites provide an archive of ideas that is more permanent.

One wonders if there is anyone willing to moderate some kind of forum that would combine the best features of both.