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posted: 1/29/2014 5:35 PM

Lombard District 44 superintendent stepping down

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  • Jim Blanche, Lombard Elementary District 44's superintendent for the past 10 years, has decided to step down. His last day is June 30.

    Jim Blanche, Lombard Elementary District 44's superintendent for the past 10 years, has decided to step down. His last day is June 30.
    Photo courtesy of District 44


Superintendent Jim Blanche has decided to step down after serving for a decade as the leader of Lombard Elementary District 44.

Blanche, 66, said he had one more year left in his contract, but decided 10 years -- which he said is longer than most superintendents serve -- was enough. His last day will be June 30.

"It's been a good place for me," he said. "It was a great thing for me personally and professionally."

The district's board of education accepted Blanche's resignation at a meeting earlier this month. Blanche said he is planning to file for retirement sometime later this year.

According to the district's administrator and teacher salary and benefits report, Blanche's base salary for the 2013 school year was nearly $225,000.

Prior to joining the district as superintendent in 2004, Blanche worked for 30 years in numerous positions at the community school district in Davenport, Iowa. His last six years were spent serving as the district's superintendent, a position he retired from before moving to Illinois.

Blanche said the longest he has ever held one position is in his current job, which will make leaving hard.

"I know I'm going to miss the people here," he said. "Parents send us great kids, there's no doubt about that, but the support we enjoy from the parents and the community, I think it's second to none. They support us, but they hold us accountable, and that's what we need. We need that kind of balance."

The district serves more than 3,000 students at six elementary schools and one middle school.

When he joined District 44, Blanche said the school board had a long list of goals. Since then, the district has been able to narrow them down into one financial, one academic and one social and emotional goal.

"To me, that's a strength of an organization, that you have identified the most important things and you stay focused on those things," he said.

Blanche said he also is proud that several years ago the district introduced a new process to gauge student achievement that "looks at each and every child."

While he isn't quite sure about what he'll do next, Blanche said he is looking forward to spending more time with his family, including his grandchildren.

"I'm not going to be actively pursing employment," he said, although he can see himself staying involved in the field.

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