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Former Superintendent To Aid In Search For SD135 Chief

School board is taking applications for new superintendent through Sept. 21.

Former Supt. Dennis Soustek was hired Monday to oversee the search for a new superintendent for School District 135.

Soustek, who served as superintendent from 2006 to 2010 and again from January to June of this year, will be paid $60 per hour to screen applications, check references, and to make sure the candidates meet the criteria established by the district.

He said he would work a maximum of 100 hours on the search.

“Actually, it will probably be closer to 50 hours by the time it’s all over,” he said.

“I will help them in the search process as much or as little as they want me to,” Soustek said after Monday’s school board meeting.

The board hired Soustek in part because Dr. Carol Kunst, who is acting as interim superintendent, is seeking the position permanently.

“There are some tasks a superintendent or interim superintendent performs during searches that Carol can’t perform because she is applying,” Board President John Carmody said last month. “Dennis is going to fill in that void. He could be in when we conduct interviews but he can’t ask questions. He’s really augmenting the process.”

Board member Joe LaMargo said the board wanted to conduct its own superintendent search this time.

Soustek said the Illinois Association of School Boards helped in the earlier search and winnowed a list of applicants down to five candidates earlier this summer but the school board rejected all five candidates and decided to conduct its own search.

Kunst was hired in July after Soustek declined to take another interim appointment.

“I’m retired and can only work 100 days,” he said. “A district this size really needs a full-time superintendent.”

The deadline to apply for the superintendent’s position is Sept. 21.

“I hope to have all of the applications ready for the board to consider at its Sept. 24 meeting,” Soustek said.

The board has said it hopes to have a new superintendent in place by January. The opening was created when Paul Howell stepped down in January to return to teaching.

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frank September 11, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Wake up people! The Board continues to WASTE our tax monies. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
John Paul September 12, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Here's my question: If Dr. Kunst was a good choice for Superintendent, why was she not offered a multiyear contrat, which is pretty standard for the district? If the Board felt she was not a good choice, why was she hired at all?
FC September 13, 2012 at 01:48 AM
John: This was not a good choice, it's a stop gap measure. As I posted previously, very limited experience and staying power in previous assignments is a glaring weakness. I hope our board does the right thing and hires top talent for a top district; anything less would be a disservice to the children and taxpayers. The interim hire was a poor decision by a board who has generally made some excellent choices, that's why I have supported them. If they stay the course here, my support will cease as this decision is far too important to make a less than exceptional choice, in my opinion.
John Paul September 13, 2012 at 05:00 AM
A school board has two functions: set policy and hire a superintendent. Hiring and firing secretaries is not a function of a school board, by the way. First, why did they get rid of Dr. Howell, especially if they did not have a permanent replacement? Even when you consider that Dennis Soustek stepped back in, how did they not have a plan to replace him with a permanent superintendent? This is a good school district, backed by a very suppotive population and it deserves better than a series of interim superintendents. The employees also need to have some consistent leadership. Alot of people have said alot of things about the board I presided over, but at least we were able to come together and hire a good superintendent in Dennis Soustek. I don't mean to indict the whole board; I know that Bragg, Lamargo and Donnegan are trying to do the right thing. Now the majority bloc needs to step up.
Yellow Dog September 20, 2012 at 09:01 PM
This school board is a JOKE!!!

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