With a team of interim administrators now on the job at Joseph Sears School, the hunt for a permanent replacement for former principal Marty Powers will probably resume this fall, Kenilworth School District Superintendent Kelley Kalinich said Friday.
An initial search undertaken in July failed to provide desirable candidates, she said, and the availability of potential replacements for Powers will be higher at that time.
Powers, who served as principal for two years, notified the district in June that he had decided to return to his home state of California.
“He was highly successful here, and we did not expect him to leave. He agreed to stay with us through the end of July in order to smooth the transition,” Kalinich said.
Although administrators such as principals are usually already under contracts for their current jobs by July 1st of each year, District 38 decided to do an expedited initial search in July.
Using the Highland Park-based administrative search firm of School Exec Connect, the district compiled a list of four finalists. All of them were interviewed by Kalinich and a committee of teachers, parents and board members.
“At the end of the interviews, I determined that we really did not have the top candidates that we hoped for, and so we suspended the search” on Aug. 17, she said.
“I outlined for the board that the typical and more preferred time line for a search usually takes place later in the fall because principals are usually under contract in the summer so it would be difficult for currently practicing principals to leave their current positions.”
The board had already approved two temporary per diem contracts of $700 a day for Chuck Freiberger and Karen Noonan. Both are retired school administrators, and their contracts are for no more than 100 days each, which is the longest they can work without affecting their pensions, Kalinich said.
Freiberger, who had been a principal in Elmhurst, started July 22 and Noonan, who recently retired from an administrative job with the North Suburban Special Education District, started Aug. 4.
“(Freiberger) will really be the person we’re calling the interim principal, the person who people will see day in and day out,” Kalinich said.
“(Noonan) will do a lot of the behind the scene tasks such as teacher evaluations and … some of our curricular initiatives.”
Freiberger and Noonan have been made aware that the district will be searching for a permanent principal, and their contracts include provisions for a 10-day notification if Powers’ replacement is found before their contracts end.
Kalinich said Student Services Director Libby Noell shouldered some administration services; she will serve as an assistant principal on the days that Freiberger is not in the building.
Kalinich also praised district teachers Martha Maggiore and Jennifer Comica, both of whom have administrative accreditations and who helped with administrative tasks throughout the summer.