Addison Trail High School Principal Scott Helton will start training this winter to fill the top spot in 2012 in DuPage High School District 88.
The board of education voted unanimously Monday to name Helton as successor to current Superintendent Steve Humphrey, who will retire on June 30, 2012. Humphrey has led the district for more than a decade, and spent 42 years in education.
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"You always hope that you can find other leaders who believe in what you believe and who can move things forward to a higher level," Humphrey said. "Scott has tremendous insight, and I believe he will keep our programs moving."
Helton will be in charge of the administrators, teachers and staff who serve about 4,200 students at Addison Trail in Addison, and at Willowbrook High School in Villa Park. He has been principal at Addison Trail for a decade and will continue in that role for the rest of this school year.
Naming Humphrey's replacement now is ideal, officials said, because it allows Helton to be involved in critical activities this spring such as contract negotiations, budgeting and staffing.
Helton said his experience with the district and his long-term transition to superintendent are a plus.
"You know the strengths and the challenges of the community," Helton said. "We are in a process of improving the district, and there is a synergy that is already rolling."
Officials said Helton was the only internal candidate who applied, and an external search was not conducted. Humphrey said he recommended hiring internally, and Willowbrook Principal Daniel Krause and Assistant Superintendent Jean Barbanente did not vie for the post.
"We made a decision as a team that continuity in the district would be important going forward to continue the unique work our staff is doing, so I recommended to stay inside and felt strongly about that," Humphrey said. "(Krause and Barbanente) are outstanding, but I think neither one felt it was their time."
Helton, of Elmhurst, has spent more than 25 years working in various educational roles at suburban high schools, including classroom teacher, varsity coach, dean and assistant principal.
He earned his doctoral degree in educational organization and leadership from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also holds masters degrees in educational administration and exercise physiology from Governors State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, respectively, and an undergraduate degree from North Park University.
Because the board of education will not approve Helton's new contract until their meeting Monday, his superintendent salary is not yet available.
This school year, Humphrey is receiving his base salary of $235,153, according to the district. In retirement, he will earn roughly $190,000 -- an amount based on estimated Teacher Retirement System calculations. Humphrey will not receive any medical benefits after stepping down.