Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board President Tracy Quattrocki sent a letter to families of District 65 students Monday to advise them of the resignation of Superintendent Hardy Murphy.

Quattrocki, in the early months of her second four-year term on the Board, has frequently clashed publicly at board meetings with the outgoing superintendent, and his departure was not unexpected following last April’s school board elections.

Quattrocki was constrained in her public remarks to the press Monday, citing legal advice, on the grounds that the departure was a personnel matter, but she assured the families of the district’s students that the board will act quickly to fill the leadership void while providing ample opportunity for community input.

In that regard, she called a meeting of the Board for 5 p.m. Monday to address the situation.

Following is the text of her letter:

Dear District 65 Families,

Hardy Murphy, Ph.D. announced his resignation as District 65’s Superintendent of Schools today to pursue consulting opportunities. The Board of Education and he recognize that this is a difficult time of year for a major transition. However, we believe that the timing is best given the opportunities Dr. Murphy is considering.

The Board has initiated a search for an interim superintendent for this school year and will begin the process for hiring a permanent superintendent to commence in the Fall of 2014. We trust that the well-established District 65 leadership team will be very effective in facilitating the transition until an interim superintendent is hired. Families should continue to contact the appropriate administrator with any questions or concerns about their child’s school experience. We know that the talented and committed teachers and principals will be there for you to ensure a smooth start to our upcoming school year.

Going forward, the Board will begin the search process for a permanent superintendent in mid-September. As that process unfolds, the Board will work hard to ensure that the community has ample opportunity to provide input into the process before a superintendent is hired to serve our District for the next generation of students.

The Board thanks Dr. Murphy for his 13 years of distinguished service. His career in our district has been marked by innovative instructional initiatives that led to increased student achievement and the successful implementation of state and nationally recognized programs. His leadership was rooted in his strong desire to see that all of District 65’s students had the best opportunity for academic success, and we wish him well.” 

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Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Hire Within

    Avoid the expense of a search and hire within. Ask yourselves what Murphy added to Evanston's education process and if current talent already exists here. It is not me but I think it does. It will save money on the search, the move, and, possibly, on a great deal on salary.

    I believe that the current school board has the skill and the brains to accomplishment this and save D65 a lot of money. The taxpayers will thank you.

    1. Totally disagree with this.

      Totally disagree with this. This district needs a fresh approach and none of the top Murphy's staff meet that need. The assumption that the district will save money by hiring within is faulty. They might actually find someone who both can manage a budget, but even more importantly raise the quality of education. Better education is good for students and the community. And if the only  thing one cares about is what is good for the "taxpayer"  then better schools lead to higher value both for your house but of higher importance the people. Please D65 Board, do an outside search and really get us administrators who care!

  2. It didn’t have to end this way…but not surprised…

    Dr. Murphy did many good turns…however, he had a “holier than thou”/dismissive demeanor that ticked so many people off.  His approach opened him up to the vitriol you see reflected in many of the comments here. 

    For those of us who were asked for perspective on inclusion as that initiative ramped up, we’ll never forget the “rigged” survey that went to the teachers…and the charade that was “community input”.  The Board at the time was surprisingly uninformed — this was all carefully orchestrated — he was no dummy. 

    1. Inclusion pre-Dr. Murphy

      My only criticism of Dr. Murphy regarding inclusion is that he didn't work on it sooner.  Without him, we would not be anywhere near where we are with regard to inclusion in this district.  As it is, we segregate kids more than most any other district.  He had us heading in the right direction and I fear for the future of our disabled kids if we go back to to segregation.

      1. Agree

        I agree — his lack of support for the special needs community was ignorant and disgraceful. Good riddance.

  3. Look for outside talent!

    I think the Board would be smart to look outside the district for talent. The current administration was hand-picked by Dr. Murphy to do his dirty work. None of those administrators have the background nor the qualifications to meet the needs of this diverse students.

    This current administration is not teacher and student friendly. I believe some of them should have never enter the field of education. I believe it would be worth the time and money to go outside for talent.

  4. New superintendent for D65

    Regardless of who the board hires to lead D65 in this new phase, please be mindful of the financial situation of Evanston residents and do not over-compensate the new superintendent. Also, please, please, please don't offer long contract, rent stipend and other ways that would cost us more than it should. We all have to adjust to the new reality in the US economy. Board members, please spend our money wisely.

    1. Qualified candidates

      I'm sure there will be a line of qualified candidates.  Low pay, no job security, and a community that openly disrespects the position at any chance.  Good luck with that.

      1. Superintendent wages

        Dr. Murphy was making close to $250,000 a year, with a contract that was unnecessarily extended with questionable timing. If that is low pay, then the average wages of many Evanston residents must seem like pocket change.

      2. Can Only Hope

        We can only hope that the salary is cut in half and a 1 or 2 year contract. Maybe there will be an incentive for the next person to do a better job.

  5. Hooray

    The special ed program in this community was disgraceful.  We moved away years ago specifically because of Hardy (and Patty Seifer).  I can't believe it took this long to get rid of him.  His pay was higher than in more expensive communities here on the East Coast … where living expenses are a lot higher I might add.  Here we only give the superintendent a 3-year contract.  Inclusion where I am now was in existence years before Hardy finally allowed it to happen in Evanston.  I hope a better replacement can be found and I agree not to go wild with the salary.  Kudos to the Board for doing what should have been done years ago.

    1. I agree that the special ed

      I agree that the special ed services at d65 have a horrible reputation. Just about every outside consultant that we used advised moving to another district. The attitude toward special ed families permeates every layer of the school system.


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