Business chief's hiring is latest administrative changeover in District 214

Tim Keeley's hiring Thursday night as associate superintendent for business services in Northwest Suburban High School District 214 came with much fanfare - even a swag bag was given to the longtime school finance professional.

The school board's approval of the $202,873-a-year contract ends a monthslong search following the mysterious departure of Keeley's predecessor with a severance payout that was the subject of an Open Meetings Act violation brought to light by the Daily Herald.

And, there's still other administrative turnover at the Arlington Heights-based central office just as new Superintendent Scott Rowe is about to take helm of the state's second-largest high school district in July.

Keeley, the assistant superintendent of business in Addison Elementary District 4 since 2017, was chosen from a field of 45 candidates to replace longtime Associate Superintendent for Finance and Operations Cathy Johnson. Last September, she received a $183,274 severance - the rest of her full year's salary and unused vacation days - but Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul ruled in March that the school board violated the Open Meetings Act when it failed to disclose it was voting on a severance agreement with Johnson.

As the Daily Herald reported in December and as referenced by Raoul, District 214 board members in recent months began not to specifically announce the personnel items they were voting on after closed session - such as at the Sept. 15, 2022, meeting with Johnson's resignation - and meeting minutes released a month later didn't provide further description.

At Raoul's direction, the board again voted on the Johnson agreement April 13 following public notice and a detailed meeting agenda item.

But it wasn't until the April 27 meeting that the board voted again on another previously-undisclosed resignation agreement, originally dating Sept. 15, 2022. Marta McCullough, who worked in Johnson's office as assistant director of operations, got paid to the end of the calendar year and for unused vacation.

Johnson, who worked for District 214 for nearly a decade, is now chief school business official in Mundelein High School District 120. McCullough, who joined District 214 at the onset of the pandemic in 2020, is now facilities and transportation manager in Glenbard High School District 87.

McCullough's former boss, Ken Roiland, moved up his retirement date as director of operations from Dec. 2, 2022, to Aug. 12, 2022.

That position - overseeing buildings and grounds at the district's six high schools and administration center - was filled last summer by former Wheeling High School Principal Jerry Cook. On April 17, he was named new East Aurora High School principal starting next school year.

Chris Uhle, District 214's associate superintendent of administrative services, in recent months has been taking on responsibilities related to the physical plant. Besides facilities and operations, Uhle also oversees all district athletics and activities; safety and security.

District 214 spokeswoman Stephanie Kim on Friday said the district plans to hire Cook's replacement next school year, but in the meantime district staff is being assisted by three architecture firms - Green and Associates, STR Partners and Arcon Associates - and manager Pepper Construction. It comes as the district is about to embark on $18 million worth of summer construction projects.

Aneta Mistak, interim assistant director of operations, will be removed from interim status July 1, Kim said.

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