Two leaders overseeing District 214 upon longtime superintendent's departure

  • District 214 co-interim superintendents Ken Arndt, from left, and Laz Lopez

    District 214 co-interim superintendents Ken Arndt, from left, and Laz Lopez

Updated 1/21/2023 5:51 PM

Co-interim superintendents took the helm of Northwest Suburban High School District 214 Friday as the search continues for outgoing Superintendent David Schuler's permanent replacement.

District 214 Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Laz Lopez and retired Community Unit District 300 Superintendent Ken Arndt will share responsibilities overseeing the state's second-largest high school district until a new schools chief is in place this summer.


Lopez, who is currently paid $213,473 a year in the top administrative role in charge of curriculum, is getting a $18,500 stipend for the added duties, under an amendment to his contract approved by the school board Thursday night. He's been Schuler's right hand on academic matters for the last decade, following the 13 years previous as the Wheeling High School principal and a John Hersey High School teacher.

Arndt -- a consultant with Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, the superintendent search firm the district hired in December -- will be paid $1,000 for every day he works for the district. He served in similar interim roles in the past for District 300 and Elgin Area School District U-46.

Arndt was one of six candidates the Schaumburg-based search firm brought the school board to fill Schuler's position on an interim basis.

Schuler's last day in District 214 is Feb. 24 -- and officials say he'll be available as a resource to Lopez, Arndt and the school board until then -- but since Jan. 1 he's already been executive director-designate at the Alexandria, Virginia-based AASA, the national School Superintendents Association. Schuler is transitioning with that organization's retiring leader, Daniel Domenech.

"What it does for the board and what it does for the process and the search firm is it adds another layer of decisions that had to be made," school board President Bill Dussling said of the co-interim superintendents appointment. "Another layer of interviews that had to take place. And a decision process that got us to the point of having to decide if we wanted two co-superintendents."

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Dussling said Lopez will be charged with handling the daily district operational duties involving curriculum, budget and other initiatives. Arndt will serve as the "face" to the community as the primary point of contact for parents, will sit at the board table during meetings, and be the superintendent of record for state and federal compliance purposes, officials said.

The day before the appointments, the board and search firm released a public online survey for students, staff, parents and community members to share their thoughts about desired characteristics in a new superintendent. The survey, at, is open until Feb. 1, and will be used to put together a leadership profile report.

Virtual community forums on Zoom are scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 30 and 7 p.m. Jan. 31.

In-person community forums are scheduled at 7 p.m. Jan. 30 and 10 a.m. Jan. 31 at the Forest View Educational Center, 2121 S. Goebbert Road in Arlington Heights.

Initial interviews with the board are scheduled for early March and a second round of interviews in late March, according to a preliminary timeline.

A new superintendent could be named by April and start the job in July.

"This is a fairly fast process for a search, but by the same token, we're doing it very much in-depth and we're trying to do it at a very broad basis as well," Dussling said.

After 17 years at the helm, Thursday marked the last official board meeting with Schuler on the dais at Forest View. The board will host a public reception for him at 6 p.m. Feb. 9, before the next board meeting.

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