A Lake Forest educator has been hired as superintendent in Mundelein Elementary District 75 to replace Cynthia Heidorn, who is retiring at the end of the school year.
Andy Henrikson, assistant superintendent for human resources of the combined administrative team for Lake Forest Elementary District 67 and Lake Forest High School District 115, was the unanimous choice from among 57 applicants for the job.
"We were very enthusiastic about his curriculum background," District 75 board President Tim Johnson said.
The school board Monday night unanimously approved the three-year pact, which comes with a base salary of $178,500 and calls for a 2 percent raise in each subsequent year. Heidorn's base salary for 2013-14 is $219,413.
Henrikson began his career as a teacher in Barrington Unit District 220 and was a principal in Deerfield Elementary District 109 and Park View District 70 in Morton Grove. While in Lake Forest, he also served as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
The combined Lake Forest districts have about 3,650 students in five schools, compared to about 1,716 in the three District 75 schools.
Johnson said Henrikson's knowledge of education and "finesse" working with all types of personalities to reach a common goal were traits that put him "well above" other applicants.
"We loved how at ease Andy was during his interviews with parents, community members and staff," Johnson said.
The board sought someone skilled in curriculum and instruction because of ongoing changes at the state and federal levels. Those include new standards for testing, the continuing move to Common Core learning, and teacher performance evaluations, Johnson said.
"I'm not so sure there's a looming big problem for the next superintendent to deal with, but there is so much change happening so quickly," he said. "Managing that is by far the most important thing going forward -- not to underplay budget issues."
Johnson said the district is in good shape financially but is approaching its tax levy limit in some categories and property values continue to drop.
Henrikson was not immediately available Tuesday but in a statement issued by the district, he acknowledged the changing landscape in education.
"There are increased expectations for students to think critically, collaborate with others, synthesize research, and communicate knowledge," he said.
Heidorn will have completed nine years when she retires June 30.
Henrikson is expected to begin in May to ensure a smooth transition. He and his wife, Jennifer live in Buffalo Grove and have two grown daughters attending the University of Texas in Austin.