By Anthony Caciopo
Regional News Editor
A search is underway for a new superintendent to lead School District 128 of Palos Heights, replacing Dr. Dawn Green who is retiring next year.
The timeline for finding a replacement is fast-moving, with a “stakeholder focus group meeting” scheduled for Oct. 3. Everyone in the community is invited to attend and offer input.
The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Navajo Heights School, 12401 S. Oak Park Ave.
“What are you looking for? What are the top priorities for you?” said Green about the public input that will be gathered by the Dist. 128 School Board at the Oct. 3 meeting.
Green and Kristin Restivo, a Dist. 128 School Board member, met with The Regional News last Friday in the superintendent’s office to discuss the process.
They each said there will undoubtedly be some similar desires expressed, such as “good communication” and “focus on the kids.”
“But some people might favor a candidate strong in finance or strong in grant acquisitions,” said Green.
“At the end, people get a voice,” she said. That’s very important.”
Green will retire in July, 2019 after four years with Dist. 128. She pushes aside any spotlight on her and her departure to focus instead on the task at hand.
Dist. 128 is comprised of four schools, all in Palos Heights: Indian Hill Early Learning Center, kindergarten and pre-K; Chippewa Elementary School, grades 1-3; Navajo Heights School, grades 4-5, and Independence Junior High School, grades 6-8.
Enrollment in the district is 700-plus students and increasing, said Green. Dist. 128 employs slightly more than 100 staff, she said, including teachers, paraprofessionals, secretaries and custodians.
The district’s annual budget is between $8 million to $9 million.
Hard on the heels of the Oct. 3 stakeholders meeting will be an application deadline of Nov. 10. Two rounds of interviews will take in December and the Dist. 128 School Board is expected to make its hiring decision at its January 2019 meeting.
The procurement of qualified candidates is being led by BWP, a consulting firm. Interest in the position and District 128 is high, said Green and Restivo, with more than a dozen applicants in the first two weeks.
“We thought we (the school board) were going to just do the search ourselves,” said Restivo. “But all the work it entails and all the legalities, none of us has done this before.”
“I think we’re finding, which is good for everybody—the community, the board—is that this is a desirable place to come to,” said Green.