Stakeholders sought to assist Libertyville Distict 70 in superintendent selection

  • Matthew Barbini

    Matthew Barbini

  • The search for a new superintendent in Libertyville District 70 is progressing. Six semifinalists will be vetted by the school board during two closed meetings next week.

    The search for a new superintendent in Libertyville District 70 is progressing. Six semifinalists will be vetted by the school board during two closed meetings next week. Daily Herald file photo

Updated 2/2/2022 7:39 PM

The search for a new superintendent to lead Libertyville Elementary District 70 has been narrowed to six semifinalists with school board interviews scheduled during two closed meetings next week.

Meanwhile, community members and others are being sought to help select a successor to Superintendent Matt Barbini from among the two or three semifinalists expected to emerge after those sessions.


In October, Barbini announced he would not be seeking a contract extension at the end of this school year. He said he wanted to pursue "professional opportunities" outside District 70 but didn't elaborate.

Barbini was only the third District 70 superintendent in 27 years when he started on July 1, 2019. His announcement was surprising in a district known for the longevity of its top administrator.

An executive search team of the Illinois Association of School Boards sorted through 26 applicants to narrow the field to 12 candidates, according to District 70 board President Wendy Schilling.

Six semifinalists were presented last Saturday to the District 70 board after a background check and phone interviews by the association's executive searches director, Schilling informed families and district employees.

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Once the District 70 board culls the field to two or three finalists, it will host meetings with three stakeholder groups on Feb. 23.

The groups will be made up of parents/guardians and community members; district teachers, principals, department directors and support staff; and school board members. They will conduct "extensive" candidate interviews, Schilling said.

The plan is to name a new superintendent at the March 21 school board meeting.

Parents or guardians, community members and District 70 employees interested in serving on the stakeholder groups should email board secretary Jennifer Khan,

Khan, school board member Nanette Dahlke, and Tom Bean, the district's director of human resources, will create the groups. Members of each group will notified about the Feb. 23 meeting.

Schilling said every candidate worked as either a school principal or assistant school principal, which is a quality the district is seeking in its new leader. Those being interviewed in the first round are all Illinois residents, she added.


Whoever is selected will start July 1.

Barbini was touted for several initiatives during his tenure, such as blended preschool and long-range planning for facilities, finances and technology. While he had board authority to make decisions, Barbini came under fire from parents and others who disagreed with how the district dealt with the pandemic.

The criticism included offensive and untrue emails that perpetuated divisions in the community, district officials said at the time.

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