Tears were shed as teachers and co-workers of superintendant Scott Thompson thanked him for guiding Antioch Elementary District 34 over the past five years.
During Thompson's final meeting leading the district Tuesday night, the school board showed off a PowerPoint presentation highlighting his achievements over the years.
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It listed successes, including adding computer labs for grades K-5, adding $75,000 worth of books for school libraries and creating an automated emergency phone notification service for parents.
School Board President Johni Kalstrup commended Thompson for his ability to keep the school financially stable while other districts were struggling during the recession. The board presented Thompson with brass school bell as a gift.
"I am going to miss being a part of the talented educators and supportive parents that have helped me to make the district a better organization," Thompson said in a news release.
He announced last August the 2009-10 school year would be his last with the district, citing in a news release "conflicting priorities between my leadership ideals and those of the board."
The community held a farewell celebration for him at Oliverii North restaurant after Tuesday's meeting.
"It has been a pleasure working with him (Thompson)," former Antioch mayor Dorothy Larson said at the meeting. "We have had open communications over the years whenever it dealt with the children."
Thompson will be succeeded by Greg Buchanan, former superintendent for Golf School District 67 in Morton Grove.
Buchanan, who will take over July 1, said he has been meeting with school personnel during after-work hours in order to make his transition as smooth as possible.
"My experience in Golf has been very good because it is very small here," Buchanan said, explaining he has been able to gain experience in many aspects of running a school district.
His main goal heading into next year is to maintain visibility and transparency by meeting with the school board, the teaching staff and "a little bit of everyone," he added.