Unit Four Announces Four Finalists for Supt. Post
The Champaign Unit Four School Board has chosen four finalists for the job of district superintendent.
One of the finalists is already at Unit Four. She's Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Wiegand who becomes interim superintendent next month, when current interim Robert Malito's term runs out. The other finalists are Dr. Darryl Taylor, superintendent of a one-school district in Calumet City ... Dr. Johnnie Thomas, an associate superintendent at the Arlington Heights Township high school district ... and Steven Cobb, the Chief Academic Officer for Fort Wayne Community Schools. Taylor and Thomas are African-American.
The finalists were chosen from a field of nine candidates selected by a search firm hired by the district. The school board made their selection after interviewing the nine. Board member Greg Novak says he's looking for a new superintendent who can help move the school district forward.
"It sounds vague", says Novak of that goal, "but we broke that down. We were looking at areas like technology, academic success, experience with building facilities. But again, the goal was we want to take the district to the next step."
School Board President Sue Grey says they chose the four finalists with an eye towards building on the progress Unit Four made under the last superintendent, Arthur Culver.
"We made great strides while we were working through the consent decree process, things with curriculum and equity and achievement and all of our students", said Grey. "And so that was something that was very important to us as a board, that people understood the significance of that, and how we wanted to continue making progress."
The four finalists will be in Champaign next week for interviews with the school board and with an advisory committee made up of community members. The committee includes Nathaniel Banks (a former school board member), Laurie Bonnett, Charles Burton, Joan Dixon, Peter Fox, Ginny Holder, Charles Larenas, Pat Lewis, Rebecca Motley, Prue Runkle,Ryan Searby, Jennifer Shelby, Seth Swartz, Mirelsie Velazques, Scott Walter and Barb Wilson.
The interviews will held be behind closed doors, but the public can email their questions for the candidates, now through Sunday, December 11th, at email@example.com
Board President Grey says a final vote on a new superintendent could be made as soon as the December 19th school board meeting. Unit Four hopes to have a new superintendent hired and ready to begin work by July 1st, 2012.
The previous superintendent, Arthur Culver, left Unit Four earlier this year, and is now the superintendent for the East St. Louis school district. Since then, retired school administrator Robert Malito has served as an interim superintendent on a parttime basis. Judy Wiegand is scheduled to take over as the interim superintendent in January.