Superintendent search in Oak Grove District 68 to restart in fall
The search for a replacement for retiring schools chief Lonny Lemon in Oak Grove Elementary District 68 will be rebooted in the fall.
School board President Tony Giamis said an offer was made to one candidate but a deal couldn't be struck, and after a "thorough review of the candidates," the board decided to start fresh.
Lemon will retire at the end of the 2019-20 school year. The board wanted to a get jump on finding a replacement for the popular superintendent, who was hired to start the 2012-13 school year.
The recruitment and selection process was done internally, mainly through school board member and volunteers, Giamis said. Experience and the equivalent of a doctorate in education were among the attributes being sought. Seventeen candidates applied.
"At the end of the day, we were able to make one offer, (but) that was not able to be closed," he said. "We felt if we wait until fall, there may be a bigger pool."
Giamis said the issue regarding the candidate was not financial. One of the other considerations was finding someone who could spend all or part of next year working with Lemon to smooth the transition.
Lemon told the board he would leave after the 2019-20 academic year when he signed a contract extension three years ago. The district's longtime business manager will leave at the same time.
"None of this is taken lightly," Giamis said. "We're looking for an experienced superintendent who is a visionary."
The district likely will hire a professional search firm for the next round, according to Giamis.
"Our candidates were great," he added. "We just decided to continue the search in the fall."
Green Oaks-based Oak Grove is a single-school, K-8 district with about 920 students.
In 2016, Oak Grove completed a five-year, $14.1 million remodeling project and was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
Giamis said state finances and the possibility of a state property tax freeze or pension shift will be among the issues facing District 68.
School officials also have cited the sizable number or retiring veteran teachers, shifting demographics and changing social/emotional needs of students as other issues.