Lombard Dist. 44 names new superintendent
A 51-year-old superintendent overseeing schools in the near-West Suburbs has been selected to run Lombard Elementary District 44.
Michael Robey will take the helm on July 1. He follows in the footsteps of Jim Blanche, who stepped down this past summer after holding the position for 10 years.
Since Blanche left, the position has been held by Kenneth Cull, former superintendent of Itasca Elementary District 10. In January, Patricia Wernet, former superintendent of Lisle Unit District 202, will fill in until Robey arrives.
Robey said Friday he was thrilled to hear he was chosen by the board of education and hopes he can lead the district for many years to come.
"Lombard's an excellent school district with high expectations, and one that truly values and supports a quality education system," he said. "It just seems like a great place to work."
Currently, Robey is superintendent for a school district that serves Maywood, Melrose Park and Broadview. Prior to that, he served as a middle school principal in Bensenville, an assistant principal in Northbrook and a middle school teacher in Skokie.
Robey received a bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University and a master's degree in education technology from National-Louis University. He completed doctoral studies at Loyola University Chicago.
Robey signed a 4-year contract that will pay $197,500 the first year. The school board agreed to pay Cull and Wernet $1,200 for each day they worked in the 2014-15 school year, with no additional benefits.
"I think (the board of education and I) both felt it was important to have some stability in the district moving forward," Robey said of the length of the contract.
Robey, of Plainfield, was one of six candidates interviewed for the position. The board was impressed by several recent accomplishments by Robey, including his role in converting the schools in his current district from all being kindergarten through 8th grade to elementary grade level centers, middle school grade level centers and one dual language school.
Robey also helped move his current district off the state's financial watch list and implemented a new transportation system.
"We are very excited and feel very fortunate to have Dr. Robey joining District 44 as our new superintendent," board of education President Brook Wozniak said in a statement. "He brings with him experience and expertise that will greatly benefit our community as we continue on our improvement journey."
Robey said he hopes to meet with residents, staff and students before setting some goals for District 44, but he is interested in increasing the availability and use of technology in the classroom and promoting 21st Century learning skills.