Hersey principal to go on medical leave for a year, then step down
Two years into his tenure as principal at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, Keir Rogers is going on a yearlong medical leave and then stepping down, under terms of a retirement agreement approved Thursday by the Northwest Suburban High School District 214 board.
The situation is similar to that of his predecessor, Gordon Sisson, who went on medical leave just days before the first day of school in 2021.
In a letter to parents, Rogers wrote that his doctor recently recommended he take an indefinite medical leave to focus on his health. It is not a life-threatening situation, but does necessitate some time away from the school, Rogers said.
"Although I won't be on campus, you can trust that my heart will always be with our school, our students, and the incredible learning journey they are on," he wrote. "Please know that my decision to step down is made with the best interest of the school and your children in mind. Change can be a powerful catalyst for growth, and I am excited to see where this new chapter leads Hersey."
Rogers will use 204.6 sick days in the upcoming school year for medical purposes, in addition to his personal and vacation days. The agreement approved Thursday will enable him to be off the remaining days of the 12-month period ending June 30, 2024, said Kate Kraft, the district's associate superintendent of human resources.
That is considered his retirement date from the district; the school board agrees to pay his annual compensation of $178,510 and benefits until then, per the agreement.
Rogers submitted documentation from his physician, the agreement notes.
The 11-page document also includes a letter of recommendation from former Superintendent Dave Schuler, now the executive director of AASA, the national School Superintendents Association in Alexandria, Virginia. Schuler wrote that he specifically recruited Rogers from River Trails Elementary District 26 in 2020 to be principal of District 214's Specialized Schools division. Schuler endorsed Rogers "for any position or endeavor he may seek to pursue."
Kraft posted the Hersey job opening online after the special board meeting Thursday morning. Despite the first day of school coming up Aug. 16, she said she's confident officials will be able to fill the position internally.