Fred Heid, the incoming superintendent for Community Unit District 300, was an early favorite for the top job in the Algonquin-based school district, an official said Thursday.
"He's a very self-confident man who is bilingual, which is very important to us, and he is very much into academic improvement and he's focused on student learning," school board member Joe Stevens said. "His track record has been pretty impressive in that regard."
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The state's sixth-largest district will be the first school system Heid has ever run. He was one of two finalists for the job and the board's first choice, Stevens said.
Heid is chief academic officer for the Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Florida. He joins the district June 2. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Among Heid's accolades are teacher of the year honors from both a Florida middle school and Sarasota County, outstanding educator honors from the University of Florida and a Disney American Teacher of the Year nomination.
He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of South Florida and recently finished course work for his doctorate from Capella University in Minneapolis. He will receive his degree after completing his dissertation.
Heid signed a three-year contract with District 300 this week and will make $210,000 a year, $10,000 more than outgoing Superintendent Michael Bregy, who is leaving to run North Shore School District 112. The district launched a search for Bregy's replacement in January.
The district will pay for Heid's move to the area, but only up to a certain amount, Stevens said, declining to disclose the number.
Heid was also among four finalists for the superintendent's job in Florida's Alachua County, but always kept District 300 officials posted on that opportunity, Stevens said.
The incoming superintendent's longevity elsewhere is no concern for Stevens. Heid left his last three jobs after less than three years, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He has held his current job since late 2012, also spent two years and seven months at the Florida Department of Education as bureau chief for school improvement and accountability, and worked 13 months as a middle school principal in Orlando.
Superintendents generally don't stay any longer than three to five years but Heid indicated he's ready to settle into a district with his family, Stevens said.
"I'm confident he'll stay as long as he's challenged and happy, and we hope he is," Stevens said. "He's a very engaging man with a jovial sense of humor and cares very much about kids."
District 300 will hold a special meeting May 28 at Westfield Community School in Algonquin to approve Heid's contract. A reception follows.