Will District 62 use same firm to find next superintendent?

  • Floyd Williams Jr.

    Floyd Williams Jr.

  • Stephanie Duckmann

    Stephanie Duckmann

  • Paul Hertel

    Paul Hertel

Posted4/30/2018 5:33 AM

After Des Plaines Elementary District 62 Superintendent Floyd Williams Jr. resigned late last year under a cloud of misconduct allegations, the school board became entitled to a free search for a replacement by the same firm that helped find Williams.

But so far, the school board hasn't taken Schaumburg-based Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates up on the offer, or said whether it will consider using the company in the future.


"The school board has not yet discussed the process regarding the hiring of a new superintendent," board President Stephanie Duckmann said in a statement.

For now, interim Superintendent Paul Hertel remains in the top administrative post -- a position the school board appointed him to until June 30, 2019. He told the Daily Herald earlier this year he would like the job on a permanent basis.

The interim appointment of Hertel, Duckmann said, "allows the board time to determine next steps regarding conducting a search."

Under terms of an agreement the board inked with HYA in September 2015, the firm promised to conduct a new search at no additional cost -- barring expenses -- if the superintendent it helped find left for any reason within a year, or within two years if a majority of the board is still in place.

The latter would apply to the situation in District 62, where Williams departed halfway through his three-year contract amid allegations he sexually harassed five female employees. Williams received a $127,000 severance when he resigned in December.

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"We always honor our contracts," said Hank Gmitro, HYA's chief search associate. "If the board wants to come back within two years, we're happy to do it."

The District 62 board picked HYA to help with its search for a successor to Jane Westerhold, who retired in 2015 after 11 years at the helm.

The board interviewed two other search firms but went with HYA, which helped find Westerhold, who was named Illinois Superintendent of the Year in 2013.

During the most recent search, HYA failed to discover previous allegations of misconduct that had been leveled against Williams during his last job at a Wisconsin school district. The Daily Herald detailed the allegations in a July 2016 report after receiving personnel records through a request under Wisconsin's Open Records Law.

The school board paid the firm $37,250, which included HYA's consulting fee, advertising for the job, a background check on Williams and other expenses, according to invoices obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. That amount also included job coaching Williams received from two former superintendents -- a service recommended by the firm.

Duckmann declined to give an opinion on the performance of HYA in the superintendent search.

• Daily Herald staff writer Chacour Koop contributed to this report.

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