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D218 starts search for a new Super

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

After eight  years at the helm, Community High School District 218 Superintendent John Byrne is leaving his post at the end of the school year and district officials hope to name his successor in February.

District spokesman Bob McParland said Byrne was “looking forward to a new challenge. He has been approached regarding some opportunities but right now is focusing on District 218.”

And now District 218 is focusing on a new superintendent and the public has been invited to help out.

The school board sketched out a timeline that included three public forums this week with the last one coming at 7 p.m., tonight, Thursday, at District 218’s Academy located at 10701 S. Kilpatrick, Oak Lawn.

The board recently met with representatives from and PROACT Search to discuss the search.

 “The Board of Education is committed to finding a talented leader  and wants community input to ensure broad based stakeholder engagement in the process,” Margaret Longo, senior consultant for PROACT Search said in a statement.

PROACT is also collecting feedback from community members through an online survey, which can be found at  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/chsd218. All responses will be received by the search firm and results will be used during the search process. The identity of participants is confidential.

Board of Education officials say they want to start interviewing candidates in early January and have a finalist candidate selected by the beginning of the 2015 year. 

"The selection of the next Superintendent to lead CHSD 218 is a significant priority for the Board of Education and our District. As we conduct this important search, we feel it is important to seek input from multiple school and community members to ensure the next leader meets the criteria necessary to move our schools forward,"Board President Marco Corsi said in a news release.  

The board is eying interviews for the finalists in January and naming the new boss in February.

 Byrne was named superintendent for the 2007-08 school year, succeeding Kevin Burns. Byrne was a teacher at Richards, a dean at Eisenhower and a director of special education in the district before taking over as the superintendent.  He had been in the district since 1989.

            Under Byrne’s watch, for seven straight years, District 218 students have broken a new record for the number of A.P. exams passed; this year and experienced a new record for the number of A.P. Scholars recognized by the College Board.

He helped create the Back to School Health Fair, which has provided hundreds of free school physicals, dental exams, and eye screens for residents.

Under his direction, the district launched its Educational Foundation, which has raised thousands for college scholarships and teacher grants.

District 218 has earned the state’s highest fiscal rating, Financial Recognition, each year of his tenure. During that span, the district also earned a perfect finance score (4.0) from the state board.

This year, Shepard opened a new science wing.  Previously, both Richards and Eisenhower have constructed new cafeterias, Eisenhower remodeled its LRC.  Plans have started for a new arts center at Richards.