Dist. 15 leader attends his last meeting

Palatine Township Elementary District 15 board members said farewell to retiring Superintendent Scott Thompson at his final meeting Wednesday night.

Thompson 62, joined District 15 as interim superintendent in 2010. He received the job on a permanent basis later that year, starting with a $198,000 base salary that grew to about $285,000.

District 15 board member Zubair Khan was among those who congratulated Thompson on his retirement. Khan said that as a new board member in 2015, Thompson provided assistance to him.

"I think a couple of things that are really worth noting, one is just how he's kind of improved the atmosphere of how the board works," Khan said. "I know that's something that we all feel individually, where it wasn't always the case where you had a very functioning board. Now we have a great functioning board and we've had one in the past. And I think Scott has a lot to do with that."

School board President Lisa Szczupaj said she's had a good run with Thompson in what now is her second year on the panel.

"We want to particularly thank you for your service, your kindness, professionalism and, of course, friendship to everyone in the district and on the board," Szczupaj said. "And the collaborative process that we have had over the last couple, 2½ years has been very positive and has led us to get a lot of good things done."

Szczupaj added that Thompson has been an advocate for students.

After Szczupaj spoke, District 15 spokeswoman Morgan Delack surprised Thompson by playing a video featuring his family.

"Thank you very much," Thompson said.

"Thank you for all that you've done," replied Szczupaj.

Thompson, whose retirement will be official June 30, came to District 15 after leading Antioch Elementary District 34 for six years. He was principal of Twin Groves Middle School in Buffalo Grove before District 34 hired him as superintendent in 2005.

He encountered some bumps during his tenure as schools boss. For example, there was criticism in 2016 over an unprecedented 10-year teachers contact and a $130 million borrowing plan for construction projects that voters rejected.

Thompson plans to spend more time with his seven grandchildren and expects to seek a volunteer opportunity with a nonprofit organization.

Laurie Heinz, superintendent of Park Ridge-Niles School District 64, received a four-year contract to take over for Thompson on July 1. Her first-year base salary will be $272,000.

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