District 25 launches search for Bein's successor

The Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 board has launched a search for the successor to Superintendent Lori Bein, who is set to retire about a year from now.

After listening to presentations from four search firms during a special meeting Monday night, the board is poised to approve a contract with Oak Park-based School Exec Connect at the next Tuesday's board meeting to lead the search.

Board members each wrote their top choice on a piece of paper and passed it to board President Anisha Jogee, who said five of the seven on the elected panel preferred School Exec Connect - mostly for its local ties. Two of the other companies were out-of-town firms.

"If we went with any of these four firms, we would not go wrong. They were all excellent," Jogee said. "Now, it's just based on who do we need to work with, knowing our community and so forth. ... I've heard we want to go local."

School Exec Connect has proposed a $18,500 consulting fee, expenses not to exceed $1,900, background checks of $800 for finalist candidates, and an advertising budget of up to $1,700. The search would be led by consultants Tim Shimp, who just stepped down after a decade at the helm of Yorkville Community Unit District 115, and Bhavna Sharma-Lewis, superintendent of Mundelein-based Diamond Lake Elementary District 76.

Shimp, who presented at Monday's meeting, completed seven superintendent searches in the last four years, including for Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59, Barrington Area Unit District 220 and Kildeer Countryside Elementary District 96.

Under a preliminary timeline, Shimp said, the firm would put out a community survey and coordinate at least a dozen focus group interviews of board members, staff, students, parents and community leaders to ask what they're looking for in a new superintendent, then would develop a new superintendent profile report.

The consultants would screen some two dozen candidates and bring a slate of five to seven for interviews with the board, which would narrow the list to three before making the final choice.

Shimp said he and Sharma-Lewis already have talked about potential candidates for District 25.

"We're not gonna bring someone to you that we haven't investigated and thoroughly looked at," Shimp told the board. "Now, there might be people that we eventually bring to you that we're gonna give a back story to that we still think they're a good fit with the potential that you should look at. But if there's something going on or something that you should know, we're gonna be very transparent and open. We work for you, we represent you, we represent your district."

Bein plans to serve out the remainder of her four-year contract, which expires June 30, 2024. Her tenure will mark a full decade in the K-8 district since she arrived from Roselle Elementary District 12 in 2014.

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