Elgin U-46 putting Arndt, Sanders at the helm for now
Elgin Area School District U-46 will have two leaders steering the ship for the next school year.
On Monday, the school board is expected to appoint Kenneth Arndt as interim superintendent, while Tony Sanders, chief of staff for outgoing Superintendent José Torres, will take on the role of chief executive officer.
Arndt, the former superintendent of Community Unit District 300, is temporarily replacing Torres, who is leaving to become president of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora.
Sanders, who has worked at U-46 for seven years, is Torres' right hand and has knowledge of the district's workings, school board President Donna Smith said.
"The reason we believe this structure is going to work well for us is because Tony does have the background of the district," Smith said. "He is very involved in a lot of things going on right now that we can continue to move forward on. Truly it is going to be a partnership between Tony and Dr. Arndt. And they are going to work together."
While Sanders will handle day-to-day operations, Arndt will deal with bigger-picture issues, such as working on the district's budget, building plans, and making curriculum decisions, per state law mandate.
"Ken Arndt brings many years of superintendent experience," Smith said.
Arndt also has been a mentor to many U-46 administrators.
"He has been working with us for the past two years with that (Aspiring Administrators mentorship) program so he has built relationships with the schools and our administrators," Smith said.
Many suburban school districts have opted for the two-leader solution after losing superintendents unexpectedly.
Arndt retired from District 300 in 2011 but returned there as interim superintendent in June working alongside Chief Executive Officer Fred Heid.
It's a role Arndt soon will be relinquishing.
"I have informed the District 300 superintendent (Heid) that I plan on resigning effective Sept. 12," said Arndt, 59, of Algonquin.
Torres' last day at U-46 is Sept. 12.
Arndt said he took on the District 300 interim job because Heid did not yet have his Illinois superintendent's certification, which Heid is expected to have by Sept. 1.
"That's the same problem with Tony Sanders right now," Arndt said. "I'm sure (Sanders) is working toward (certification)."
Sanders could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
Arndt, who has 38 years' experience in education, said he is looking forward to working for U-46.
"Basically, my only role (at District 300) has been primarily to sign the legal documents that are required by statute, whereas in U-46 I will be able to work with staff in a much more larger capacity," he said. "I enjoy working with administrators to help them become better leaders."
Arndt's role in U-46 will be only for the 2014-2015 school year. He will be paid a daily rate for his service. Sanders will see a bump in his salary while the chief of staff position will remain unfilled for the school year, Smith said.
Details about Sanders' and Arndt's compensation will not be released until their contracts are finalized Monday, she said.
"Our next step will be for the future (superintendent search) and we are not there yet," Smith said.