Dist. 15 hires consultant to find replacement for retiring superintendent

Palatine Township Elementary District 15 will receive outside help in finding a replacement for retiring Superintendent Scott Thompson.

Libertyville-based BWP and Associates has been hired to lead a national search for a new District 15 boss to take over when Thompson steps down at the end of the 2018-19 school year. BWP will be paid $16,900 plus associated expenses under the contract approved by the school board last week.

In 2015, Thompson announced he planned to retire after completing a new four-year contract. He was hired as District 15's interim superintendent in 2010 after Daniel Lukich was ousted and given a $185,000 severance deal, and Thompson later received the job on a permanent basis.

BWP will have a team of four consultants work on finding District 15's next superintendent, whom elected officials hope to hire by year's end. BWP President Mark Friedman, who was Libertyville Elementary District 70's boss for 17 years before retiring in 2009, will lead the team.

Topping two other consulting firms for the District 15 job, BWP acknowledged a desire expressed by school board members for community engagement during the search process. Friedman said the district's size dictates a need for four consultants to gather feedback from parents and others.

"This is a large district with 21 schools," Friedman told the school board. "There'll be days when we're going to be here doing stakeholder meetings and taking input from folks in the district. And we need to have a few people to be all over the place to saturate your district so your stakeholders can't say to you, 'We didn't get a chance to tell anybody anything.'"

Schaumburg-based Hazard Young Attea Associates and School Exec Connect of Minneapolis were the other two contenders for the District 15 consulting work.

Hazard Young led the search for former Des Plaines Elementary District 62 Superintendent Floyd Williams Jr., who lasted a little more than one academic year before resigning late last year under a cloud of misconduct allegations. Williams received a $127,000 severance amid allegations he sexually harassed five female employees.

In a letter to District 15, the firm noted "negative press that appeared in the Daily Herald" about the Williams hire.

Responding to a District 15 board question during a presentation last week, Hank Gmitro, chief search associate for Hazard Young, said the firm is exploring the depth of information it can receive through open records requests. He questioned how much detail the firm can receive through such requests of Illinois schools.

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