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updated: 5/29/2014 6:23 PM

Dist. 220 hires Wheaton Warrenville's Harris as new leader

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  • Brian Harris, superintendent of Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200, on Thursday was hired as the new superintendent for Barrington Unit District 220.

    Brian Harris, superintendent of Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200, on Thursday was hired as the new superintendent for Barrington Unit District 220.
    Courtesy of Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200


The Barrington Unit School District 220 school board Thursday hired Brian Harris, current superintendent of Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200, as its new superintendent.

Harris will replace Superintendent Tom Leonard, who in April announced plans to resign June 30 and take over as top administrator in the Eanes Independent School District in the suburbs of Austin, Texas.

Harris began his administrative career in District 220 as the principal of Barrington Middle School-Station Campus from 1993 to 1998.

He told the school board members Thursday morning that his experiences working in the district built the foundation for his administrative career to this point.

"It's great to see familiar faces -- one of the reasons I'm so excited to be here," Harris said. "I'm very excited to be back here -- can't wait to start.

Harris won't have to wait long. He will begin work Friday as deputy superintendent until July 1, when he assumes the top job.

Harris said he and Leonard will work together to ensure a smooth transition.

"I am very fortunate to have a month to transition with Tom," Harris said. "I want to take the opportunity to visit each of the schools and connect with the staff as much as I can before summer break."

This will not be the first time the two superintendents have worked together. They've served together in many state and regional organizations and know each other personally

"He is one of the few people that I have on my speed dial that I call when I need help," Leonard said.

Harris said Leonard called him in April to tell him about the position opening up. Soon after, he was interviewing for the job with the District 220 Board of Education. Leading up to today's vote, the board met with more than a dozen candidates, both in person and via video conference, in closed-door sessions at the Garlands of Barrington.

Board President Brian Battle said Harris quickly emerged as the best fit for the district. Battle cited Harris' knowledge of the district, and his passion for engaging students and staff in learning.

Harris is scheduled to appear at several district events Friday, including a breakfast for graduating seniors, and later gatherings with school staff and community leaders.

Harris will earn $260,000 in the first year of his five-year contract, which will be adjusted annually for increases to the Consumer Price Index.

Battle said Harris' contract is similar to what Leonard was paid, in addition to being comparable to superintendent contracts for other districts in the area.

District 220 educates about 9,000 students at one high school, two middle schools, eight elementary schools and an early childhood center.

At District 200, Harris oversaw an enrollment of about 13,400 students at 13 elementary schools, four middle schools and two high schools and an early childhood center.

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