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posted: 3/26/2012 6:03 PM

Mitrovich: 'Time to look for other opportunities'

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  • Mark Mitrovich

      Mark Mitrovich

 
 

Naperville Unit District 203 Superintendent Mark Mitrovich says he's done what he can in Naperville and it's time to move on.

Speaking Monday with the Daily Herald, Mitrovich said neither health nor family concerns played a role in his decision to step down when his three-year contract expires at the end of June.

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He said the decision was one he mulled "off and on for quite some time."

Mitrovich, 65, was hired in February 2009 and joined the district that July on a three-year contract. In July 2011, the school board increased his base pay 12 percent, from $203,000 to $228,000 and gave him a 5 percent performance bonus as he entered what was to be the third and final year of his agreement.

"There are some factors that I choose to keep private, but this was a professional decision," he said. "When you've been in the business as long as I have, you encounter times when you have to make a decision that you feel is in your best interest and the best interest of the organization. This is one of those times."

Mitrovich said he values his time in Naperville and intends to continue living in the home he purchased in the city.

"I feel very fortunate to have been here. Naperville is a wonderful community and District 203 is a wonderful school district," he said. "I'm proud to have played a part in both the community and the district. Now it's someone else's turn to be a part of the district."

Mitrovich said he's proud of the administrative team he was able to build and the enhancements the district made in curriculum, instruction and technology. He's also happy to see the major construction projects reach a "successful resolution."

He said recent struggles with redrawing school boundaries and instituting all-day kindergarten had no direct impact on his decision.

"I'm pleased the board has at least seen fit to move forward with Phase One of the enrollment and capacity recommendations. But any number of things could have been factors. I don't think it was any one thing," he said. "You have to evaluate what you can contribute to the situation and the district. I feel like I have done what I could and it's time for me to look for other opportunities."

He does not have any jobs lined up but said there are "other things out there," including opportunities that could send him back to the private sector.

Mitrovich is the chief education officer for EdGate, a company he co-founded that uses the Internet to improve student learning.

Before creating EdGate, he served as superintendent of Peninsula School District in Gig Harbor, Wash., a 15-school district of kindergarten through high school students.

He holds a doctorate in education administration from the University of Santa Barbara and was named Washington state's Principal of the Year in 1991 and Superintendent of the Year in 1998.

Mitrovich has served as an adviser to several education entities, including the New York City Board of Education and the Ministries of Education in New Zealand and the state of Victoria in Australia.

Working with Microsoft, he helped start the Anywhere, Anytime Learning Program that puts laptop computers into students' hands, and also developed the Total Reader Web-based reading assessment program.

Mitrovich is the founder of Benevolent Bean Coffee, which puts much of its profits toward improving health and education in Ethiopia.

"Suffice it to say I'm at a point in my life where I can take a look, see what's out there and make the best decision for my family and I," he said. "I'm completely open to anything that may come my way. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?"

Mitrovich said he has no regrets about his time Naperville. But he has done some "self-examining."

"It's difficult to be successful at anything if you aren't willing to self examine and admit that you can always do things better," he said. "If you don't view the world that way you miss opportunities for growing. I always say you're either green and growing or ripe and rotting and nothing in between."

As for his eventual successor, Mitrovich said he can only "set the table" to help the next superintendent be successful. And he offered some advice.

"I would tell whoever comes next that being involved in this community is very important," he said, "Aside from that they'll need to stay focused on the key initiatives like the common core, the significant movement toward principal and teacher evaluations while also keeping an eye on school funding."

His resignation is effective June 30.

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