After more than three years serving as second in command, Tony Sanders says he is ready to take the helm at Elgin Area School District U-46.
"I'm excited about it," said Sanders, chief of staff for outgoing Superintendent José Torres. "This is the district that I put my own kids into."
Sanders, 45, of Elgin, has worked for U-46 seven years. He has a son who is a sophomore at Larkin High School and daughter who is an eighth-grader at Abbott Middle School.
The U-46 school board Monday night confirmed Sanders as chief executive officer and Kenneth Arndt as interim superintendent for this school year.
Sanders said he has aspirations beyond being CEO of U-46.
"It's been a goal to be a superintendent for me," he said.
Sanders, who has a master's degree in business administration, still needs to get his Illinois superintendent's certification. He said he has looked into getting a chief school business official endorsement, possibly through Northern Illinois University, which he needs before pursuing the superintendent's certificate, per state law.
Torres' last day at U-46 is Sept. 12. He is leaving to become president of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora.
Sanders will handle day-to-day operations, while Arndt will be responsible for the district's budget, building plans, and making curriculum decisions, per state law mandate.
"Anything that does not require the superintendent endorsement, I will do," said Sanders, adding that he will be more visible in the schools now. "My goal is just to continue to ensure the things that we got in place and are working toward continue forward ... continuing our dual language program, the rollout of our new gifted program, and we need to look at the boundaries of the school district. We need to address the over and under enrollment of schools."
The school board also will go through a strategic planning process this year to update the district's Destination 2015 goals, he added.
Arndt, 59, of Algonquin, retired as superintendent from Community Unit District 300 in 2011. He currently is serving as interim superintendent for District 300 alongside Chief Executive Officer Fred Heid until Sept. 12. Heid is expected to have his Illinois superintendent's certification by then.
Arndt will be paid a daily rate of $650 for working a maximum of 100 days during the 2014-2015 school year. Sanders will see an increase from his current pay of more than $170,000 to $210,000 for 2014-2015.
"Right now everybody's focus is getting our schools ready," Sanders said.