District 50 superintendent search enters final phase

  • Lori Casey

    Lori Casey

Updated 12/13/2021 7:25 PM

Three candidates remain following a national search for the next Woodland School District 50 superintendent. They will be in Gurnee Wednesday for final interviews with the school board and a group of about 100 school community members.

School board President Carla Little said she is hopeful the board will make its final selection soon after the interviews and begin contract negotiations. She is hopeful the board will introduce the new superintendent to the community in January.


Little said the consultant hired to help conduct the search advised the board not to reveal the identities of the three finalists to the public. The board has been working with the consultant -- the Illinois Association of School Boards -- since August on the search.

"There were several high quality candidates to choose from so it was hard to narrow the list down to three," Little said.

The district already has selected volunteer community members who will participate in Wednesday's interview sessions from 4:30 to 8 p.m.

Candidates were required to have previous experience as a teacher, principal and district-level administrator. As part of the application process, candidates had to describe their experience developing curriculum, managing school budgets, building productive relationships with stakeholders and working with a diverse population.

Whoever makes the cut will be the first outside hire for the top position in decades.

Superintendent Lori Casey, who has been in the district for 23 years, took the reins in the spring of 2020 after Joy Swoboda's retirement. Swoboda spent 14 years as superintendent and 25 years in the district overall.

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"Now, it's really about the fit and who we see being able to pick up from where Dr. Casey left off," Little said.

Casey's tenure as superintendent always was meant to be short. The same April 2019 message to parents announcing her as Swoboda's replacement also said Casey would retire after the 2021-22 school year, when her last contract ran out.

Casey was paid a starting annual salary of $198,000 and will receive an additional $100,000 after her two years are complete, documents show.

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