Breaking News Bar
posted: 6/28/2013 4:27 PM

Van Pelt to retire from Lake Villa Elementary District 41 in 2014

Success - Article sent! close
  • Lake Villa Elementary District 41 Superintendent John Van Pelt talks about the proposal to close Pleviak School as board members listen.

       Lake Villa Elementary District 41 Superintendent John Van Pelt talks about the proposal to close Pleviak School as board members listen.
    Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer


Lake Villa Elementary District 41 Superintendent John Van Pelt said he will end his education career that started more than 30 years ago and half a world away in Australia.

Van Pelt, who will retire as superintendent on June 30, 2014, said the long road from Australia to Lake Villa was definitely challenging but something he was proud to have accomplished.

Order Reprint Print Article
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

"It's been very interesting and rewarding for me," he said. "Without a doubt, dealing with the financial challenges that we have right now has been the toughest of my career. This has been, by far, the biggest challenge."

Van Pelt's education career began while preparing to graduate from the University of Iowa, when school leaders from Australia came knocking on his door looking for teachers.

"I felt it was a great opportunity for me," he said. "So, I did it. It was a wonderful experience."

Following his stint in Australia, Van Pelt returned to the United States and worked as a teacher and principal in schools in Iowa, before he was hired as superintendent of Morrison Unit District 6 in downstate Illinois.

He was later lured back to Iowa to serve as associate superintendent of a large, urban school district, before settling in at Lake Villa in 2005.

"I was in Iowa serving as associate superintendent for educational services, but I just really missed being a superintendent," he said. "So, when the position opened in Lake Villa, I applied and got the job."

Van Pelt said he will miss being a superintendent when he retires next summer, but added that consulting work will keep him busy through retirement.

The District 41 school board is hiring a search firm to find his replacement.

Van Pelt said the search should be narrowed down in July.

He said the new superintendent will face the challenge of shifting students around following the closure of Pleviak Elementary School next summer. The new superintendent will also have to handle a fiscal deficit that stands at $1.8 million, shrinking enrollment, and shaky state finances.

"(The closing of Pleviak) affects peoples lives and their livelihood," Van Pelt said. "It's difficult for everyone; the staff, students and community. These are changes that have to occur, but are very hard on people."

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.