How do you find someone to lead your elementary and middle schools if you’re not yet sure you know what you want him/her to do? That’s the issue facing the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board.
This was supposed to be the year that the district would develop a new strategic plan—a document that specifies in writing the district’s dreams and ambitions and turns them into quantifiable strategies for implementation.
The board talked about it briefly at its regular monthly meeting Monday night.
Candance Chow, a newly elected board member who is a critical player in the strategic planning process, said she feels it would be a mistake to put the process on hold until a new superintendent is chosen to replace Hardy Murphy, who resigned effective Aug. 9 after 13 years in the position.
One of the reasons Murphy resigned now, according to Board President Tracy Quattrocki, was that the strategic planning process was ready to begin and the superintendent is a key player in that process.
But Chow and others on the board, including past president Katie Bailey and Finance Committee Chair Richard Rhykus, agreed that the visioning part of the plan, involving parents, teachers, administrators, and taxpayers (not to mention the students themselves), should be effectively intertwined with the search for the new superintendent.
The next step is to name an interim superintendent, who may or may not also be a candidate for the permanent position.
Apparently the board has narrowed its choices for the interim chief, as Quattrocki said she hopes to announce the selection within the next week or so.
Then a consultant from the Illinois Association of School Boards is expected to meet with the District 65 Board to counsel them on best practices for engaging in the superintendent search.
The upshot is that the strategic planning process is likely to face some delays but that the visioning element involving the district’s stakeholders will be launched sooner, rather than later.