West Chicago High School district hires new superintendent from U-46

The principal of South Elgin High School will become the next superintendent of West Chicago High School District 94.

Kurt Johansen will take the helm of the one-school district July 1. He comes to West Chicago High School with more than 20 years of experience in education.

District 94 school board members approved a three-year contract with Johansen Thursday night. He will receive a $195,000 salary in the first year of the pact.

“Dr. Johansen has a passion for ensuring that all students are encouraged and enabled to reach their highest potential,” school board President Bob Brown said in a statement. “He has spent his career working in very diverse environments and places a high value on being open and transparent. He will help to build bridges of trust in and around our school community.”

Over his career, Johansen also has been a special education teacher, dean of students and assistant principal. South Elgin High School enrolls roughly 2,800 students in Elgin Area School District U-46.

“I look forward to working alongside all stakeholders within District 94 to provide a clear direction and focus that will serve our students for many years to come, while preserving and honoring the rich tradition of the greater West Chicago Community,” Johansen said in a statement.

Johansen attended Thursday’s board meeting. “I’d first like to thank the members of the board of education for not only providing me with this incredible opportunity, but for your high level of professionalism throughout this entire process,” he told them.

The board hired BWP & Associates, a Libertyville-based search firm, to help recruit candidates for the top administrative post. About 35 applicants were vetted by the firm based on a leadership profile developed through board, faculty, student, parent and community input, officials said.

The board interviewed six candidates and whittled down the field to three finalists. Board members then interviewed each of the three finalists twice, before selecting Johansen.

His contract runs through June 30, 2027. The district will pick up and pay, on the superintendent’s behalf, his contribution to the state’s Teachers’ Retirement System, up to 9% of his TRS-creditable earnings, the contract states. Johansen also is entitled to 20 vacation days annually, exclusive of weekends and legal holidays, as of July 1 of each contract year.

Johansen holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northern Illinois University and a doctorate of education in educational leadership from Western Illinois University.

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