Community Unit District 300 has tapped a Florida administrator to become its next superintendent, a top official confirmed Wednesday night.
Fred Heid, chief academic officer for Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Florida, will assume the helm at the sixth largest school district in Illinois, according to a memo District 300 board President Anne Miller emailed to the district's staff.
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Kathleen Burley, a school board member in District 300, confirmed the information and said more would be forthcoming. Details about Heid's start date and salary are unknown. Neither Miller nor board spokesman Joe Stevens could be reached for comment late Wednesday.
Heid, a first-time superintendent who is bilingual, comes from a kindergarten through 12th grade school system that's significantly larger than District 300. It includes 168 schools with more than 127,000 students and about 11,000 employees.
District 300 has 27 schools, nearly 21,000 students and roughly 2,500 employees.
"Mr. Heid comes to the district with extensive qualifications," Miller wrote in her memo. "One of his many strong attributes is student academic improvement."
Heid has been a teacher, an assistant principal and a principal, and he also worked for the Florida Department of Education. He has been chief academic officer for the Duval County Public Schools since December 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Heid is also apparently in demand.
The Gainesville Sun reported that Heid just interviewed for the Alachua County, Florida superintendent's job on Monday.
Heid replaces Michael Bregy, who is leaving at the end of this month to run North Shore School District 112 in Highland Park. Bregy had been in District 300 for 14 years and superintendent since 2011.
District 300 launched a nationwide search for Bregy's replacement, spending $18,500 to hire a headhunting firm.
Rosemont-based search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates compiled a profile of the ideal candidate based on recommendations from district staff, school board members, parents and the community that was gathered through interviews, focus groups and an online survey.
The firm initially pared down a list of 25 candidates to the top five contenders, who were then interviewed by the school board over a two-day period.
The board was interested in a superintendent who would continue Bregy's legacy of emphasizing education over finances.