Dist. 44 approves new superintendent, launches transition plan
Ted Stec made such a strong impression during his first five years with Lombard Elementary District 44 that the school board voted Tuesday to make him its next superintendent.
The board chose Stec to fill the top role after parting ways last month with Superintendent Michael Robey only two years into a four-year contract.
"Ted has clearly demonstrated the ability to lead our district," school board President Courtney Long said about the former investment banker and teacher who now serves as the district's assistant superintendent for business and operations.
Stec, 40, of Elmhurst, said he's so enthused to become superintendent that he was "blushing" Tuesday night inside a hot gymnasium at Madison Elementary School. He will transition into the superintendent role by first becoming CEO July 1.
"I'm excited to get to work," he said.
Teachers union members, who had voiced concerns about Robey to the school board, applauded Stec's selection with union co-president Sharon Sliwa saying he's a "positive choice" supported by all stakeholders in the district.
Stec does not yet have his superintendent endorsement, but he said he's in the process of receiving it through a doctoral program he's pursuing in educational leadership. He expects to have the endorsement, which is required to be a school superintendent in Illinois, within the next couple of months.
In the meantime, the district also voted Tuesday to hire Patricia Wernet as interim superintendent, effective July 1. Wernet already served as interim superintendent in 2015 between the tenures of previous top administrators James Blanche, who retired in June 2014, and Robey, who took over in July 2015.
The district's transition plan calls for Stec to become CEO under the assistance and guidance of Wernet for a maximum of 50 days at the beginning of the next school year. Long and Stec said they expect him to assume the role of superintendent fully by the end of the 2017-18 academic year.
Long and Stec declined to provide the salaries that will be paid next year to Stec and Wernet but said the details will be made available to anyone who files a Freedom of Information Act request.
The district agreed under separation agreements approved last month to pay a combined $424,900 in salaries and vacation days next school year to Robey and Aldo Calderin, assistant superintendent for human resources and public relations.
The district's transition plan calls for Calderin's position to go unfilled, although it will hire a business manager, Stec said.
Two other positions won't be filled: The district will not hire another assistant superintendent for human resources and public relations, but it will contract out public relations duties as needed and will hire a support position to help with human resources and business office functions. And the district won't fill the director of information services position and will instead count on technology staff, the curriculum department and principals to absorb IT duties.
"This is going to allow us to sit back and really assess our needs," Stec said about the transition plan.
Combined, Stec said these personnel changes will save the district $400,000 a year -- but that's not counting what's owed next year to the outgoing administrators.
Long said the transition plan will allow Stec to "diligently, strategically and successfully" support the needs of the district and its students.
"I'm excited to have your leadership and your knowledge bringing us forward," she said.