Des Plaines District 62 hires new superintendent
Des Plaines Elementary School District 62's next superintendent, a one-time inner-city educator recognized as a principal of the year, was hired Tuesday to do what he says is his dream job.
Invoking the late Martin Luther King Jr. a day after the federal holiday in his honor, Floyd E. Williams Jr. said at the school board meeting that he's a hard worker and committed to doing the job for years to come.
"I thank Dr. King for delivering that inspirational ("I Have a Dream") speech," Williams said. "That speech inspired me to dream that one day, a young African-American male who grew up on the rough and tough north side of Milwaukee would have an opportunity to be superintendent of School District 62. Today, my dreams have become a reality."
The school board unanimously approved a three-year contract with Williams, whose first day will be July 1, when Superintendent Jane Westerhold retires after 11 years. He will be paid an annual base salary of $198,000.
Williams, 42, has spent 19 years in the educational field, most recently serving as assistant superintendent for elementary school leadership for the Kenosha Unified School District in Wisconsin for two years. He previously was a principal and teacher in the Milwaukee Public School system and an adjunct university professor.
He was named a Principal of the Year in 2004 by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educators and was featured in a 2009 profile by Milwaukee Public Television as a principal who makes a difference in the lives of students.
Board President Stephanie Duckmann said Williams was the board's selection from an initial pool of 44 candidates. That list was narrowed to five, who interviewed with the board behind closed doors, before three finalists were invited back for another round of interviews.
Duckmann described Williams as "a servant leader and active listener who places the interests and concerns of students, staff, parents, and community members before his own; a champion of a positive professional climate of mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff, and administrators; and a visible leader who is actively engaged in the community are qualities that our community expected in a new superintendent."
Earlier Tuesday, Duckmann took Williams on a "whirlwind" tour of the district, meeting administrators, principals, teachers, staff, students and parents.
"This district academically and financially is in a great place," Williams said. "I could not ask for a better place to be."
As part of the nine-page contract approved by the board Tuesday night, Williams is required to relocate within 30 miles of District 62. He will get up to $10,000 for moving expenses.
He will also receive a $400 monthly automobile allowance, $12,000 paid to a tax-sheltered annuity annually, a contribution made on his behalf to the Illinois Teacher's Retirement System, 25 vacation days, three personal days, and 15 sick days every year. When he starts July 1, he will get an initial allotment of 30 sick days.
District 62 serves more than 4,800 students in grades prekindergarten through eighth at 11 schools.