Dist. 204 interviewing superintendent search firms
Long before Indian Prairie Unit District 204 Superintendent Karen Sullivan works her final day for the district in June 2020, the school board plans to have her successor identified and ready to make the transition.
That's why the board is working now to select a search firm to help with the hiring process.
Board President Mike Raczak said the panel plans to conduct interviews during a 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday, May 28, with the three top firms that responded to a request for proposals.
Representatives from McPherson & Jacobson, Ray and Associates and School Exec Connect each are scheduled to make a roughly 45-minute presentation followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session during the meeting at Crouse Education Center at 780 Shoreline Drive in Aurora.
After hearing from the employees of each firm who could work with the district, Raczak said board members plan to choose the company to hire and announce it at a June 10 meeting.
"We want things in place for the beginning of the school year with the hope of getting the (hiring) process completed in December or early January," Raczak said.
Board members plan to consider the cost of each firm's proposal, how the search strategy fits with the district's goals and visions and how well each company responded to specific questions.
"There's a determination of best fit for our board," Raczak said. "Our board is pretty detail-oriented."
Each firm has the capacity to search for superintendent candidates nationwide. Ray and Associates has recent experience with the district, having conducted the 2014 search that resulted in Sullivan's hiring.
While Sullivan rose from the district's own ranks, stepping to the top administrative position from a role as assistant superintendent for human resources, board members say they're open to candidates from outside the district -- and outside Illinois.
"We don't have a preference," Raczak said. "We want to get the best candidate."
During the previous search, as former Superintendent Kathy Birkett prepared to retire, school board member Mark Rising said the board received applications from a large number of out-of-state candidates.
This year, especially given state regulations and education funding changes, Rising said he wonders whether non-Illinois leaders will be as intrigued by the position.
"Just because we're such a big district," Rising said, "it'll be interesting to see the type of candidates we get from Illinois."