Maine South High principal to be next superintendent in Park Ridge-Niles District 64
Maine South High School Principal Ben Collins has been tapped as the next superintendent in Park Ridge-Niles District 64.
The District 64 school board will have a special meeting Wednesday to formally hire Collins.
"I am beyond excited to serve the District 64 students, staff and community," Collins said in a District 64 news release. He went on to praise the "world-class education" students get in District 64.
Collins will succeed Eric Olson, who is stepping down effective June 30 because of what he called "irreconcilable differences" with some community members.
Olson, who's had the job since 2019, had been the target of critics who were upset about an aborted plan to reschedule a winter holiday concert, the district's COVID-19 prevention efforts and the plans that led to all-day kindergarten classes in the district.
Board members conducted the search for Olson's replacement with assistance from a consulting group. Three trustees-elect were the only community members who were involved in the search process.
Twenty-one applicants were whittled down to six for interviews, according to the news release.
Collins is finishing his sixth year at Maine South.
"Dr. Collins has established a strong presence as a visible leader in this community, forming productive and trusting relationships with students, parents, staff, fellow administrators, and external community members (and) partners," District 64 school board President Denise Pearl said in a news release.
Collins previously was an administrator at Maine West High School in Des Plaines and a teacher and administrator at Batavia High School.
Wednesday's meeting is set for 6 p.m. at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center, 8200 Greendale Ave., Niles. A community reception will follow.