Glen Ellyn District 41 tabs Roselle schools chief as new superintendent
A schools chief in Roselle has been named the new superintendent in Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41.
The school board met for about a half-hour in closed session Monday night before unanimously hiring Melissa Kaczkowski as the district's top administrator. The board approved a four-year contract that will pay Kaczkowski a $212,500 base salary in the first year.
Kaczkowski has served as the Roselle Elementary District 12 superintendent since 2014. She will take the reins of District 41 July 1.
Her hiring ends a confidential, national search the board launched in late January after a controversial decision to part ways with Paul Gordon after he spent six years at the helm of the five-school district.
BWP & Associates, a Libertyville firm that led the search, received 30 applicants. The first round of candidate interviews began less than two weeks ago, and at the time, there were six finalists.
Board President Stephanie Clark said Kaczkowski emerged as the unanimous choice with more than 30 years of experience in education. Board Vice President Kurt Buchholz called her a strong leader with a "great track record" in her current district.
Kaczkowski is coming from a smaller, two-school district less than 10 miles away. During her tenure, the district won voter approval three years ago for a substantial tax increase to make repairs to a pair of 1960s-era campuses.
Kaczkowski previously was an assistant director of student services and an elementary principal in Batavia School District 101. Before joining the Batavia district, Kaczkowski served as an assistant principal, a student service coordinator and a special-education teacher.
She was not on hand for the District 41 board vote due to a District 12 school board meeting also held Tuesday. The district is planning a reception to introduce her to the community after spring break, Clark said.
Before Kaczkowski's hiring, the board did not announce the names of superintendent finalists nor did it hold community forums to allow the public to meet the contenders.
Buchholz has said the board adhered to the recommendation of consultants in keeping the search confidential to attract high-quality candidates.
The board also did not disclose the proposed salary range or other details until they approved Kaczkowski's pact.
In contrast, the West Chicago High School District 94 board made public the financial terms of a draft contract weeks in advance of hiring its new leader -- Principal Moses Cheng -- Tuesday.
Clark said the district publishes contracts only before the board takes action in the case of employees enrolled in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.
"We do not have to ... we don't publish the contract before we take action for the (Illinois Teachers' Retirement System) employees," Clark said.
Erica Nelson, the longest-serving member on the board, offered lengthier comments Tuesday about the selection and the search process. Nelson said she supports Kaczkowski and looks forward to helping her in the transition, but Nelson also voiced her displeasure about what she described as a "compacted timeline" for the search, which ends two weeks before three board seats are up for election April 2.
Nelson said she wasn't pleased with the approach used by search consultants to collect community feedback either.
"I was and still remain dissatisfied that the district's parent governance organization, PTA council, was not included as a focus group to offer insight on their distinct partnership with the superintendent of schools," Nelson said. "And I know that that will be moving forward with Dr. Kaczkowski a really good relationship and an important one as well."
Nelson said Kaczkowski will inherit a "really accomplished, high-performing district."
"And it's a tribute to the students, the parents, the staff that's here, the cabinet and certainly our outgoing superintendent, superintendents before them because they create a legacy," she said. "So I'm looking forward to doing everything I can to help her be successful as she comes in. It's an exciting place to be, and I know that she knows that as well."
Kaczkowski received her master's degree from the University of Illinois and her doctoral degree in educational leadership from Aurora University. She also holds a National Superintendent Certification.