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updated: 3/21/2013 4:46 PM

Gurnee's Warren District 121 board rejects superintendent finalists

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  • John Anderson

    John Anderson

  • Mark Friedman

    Mark Friedman


Warren Township High School District 121's board president says a search for a new superintendent has ended with the rejection of two finalists.

The Gurnee-based district had attracted about 30 candidates to become superintendent. Mary Perry-Bates was appointed interim superintendent in June 2012 after Jeff Brierton resigned from the post before he ever started for the 2012-13 academic year.

Board President John Anderson announced at a meeting Tuesday that elected officials rejected the two finalists who were presented to them for the top job. Consulting firm BWP and Associates Ltd. of Libertyville was in charge of narrowing the field from the initial pool of candidates.

Anderson said the applicants where whittled to a final six, then to the last two.

"The decision has been made by the board to move forward with none of those candidates," Anderson said. "So, at this point in time, we are regrouping and re-evaluating our options and processing possible alternatives and things of that nature."

On Wednesday, Anderson said he expects a final decision about the superintendent situation to be made at District 121's next board meeting April 9.

BWP had sought a strong, experienced educator to head Warren. Five search firms were interviewed before the district announced BWP's hiring at a meeting Nov. 20.

Consultants started the superintendent search process Nov. 26. It included interviews with administrators, board members, booster clubs, district residents and others to help develop a profile for Warren's new leader for the 2013-14 academic season.

Retired Libertyville Elementary District 70 Superintendent Mark Friedman, a member of BWP's board of directors, said Wednesday it's not too late for Warren to find a new boss in time for the next school year because the legwork has been completed. He said BWP hopes to continue working with District 121 to land its new leader.

Without providing names, Friedman said the rejected finalists were "all good, highly paid, highly successful people." He said they are superintendents or assistant superintendents.

Anderson said the final two candidates were judged to not be the right fit for Warren. Friedman said chemistry is an important element between a school board and superintendent.

Brierton received a severance package of more than $250,000 when he quit just before he was supposed to advance from a District 121 principal to superintendent on July 1. Perry-Bates had been assistant superintendent and is set to retire June 30.

Phil Sobocinski retired as Warren's superintendent in July 2012.

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