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D-36 to seek public input on superintendent search

WONDER LAKE – The Harrison School District 36 board has hired a firm to assist with the search for the next superintendent.

A contract with Ray and Associates, totaling $10,000 for the search and hiring process, was approved at the board’s Dec. 11 meeting.

Later this month, the board will seek the Wonder Lake-based district community’s input on “what kind of a superintendent we want,” board President Linda Amettis said.

“We’ve been through [the search process] before, but we’re going a little more in-depth because it’s been a while since we’ve surveyed the community,” Amettis said.

Superintendent Bhavna Sharma-Lewis, who is earning a $110,000 salary this school year, will be leaving after three years with District 36. Beginning in July, Sharma-Lewis takes the helm as the new superintendent for Riverside Public School District 96, near the west side of Chicago.

A Jan. 17 meeting is scheduled for school staffers and students’ families to offer input to the board regarding candidate qualifications. A letter with details about the public meeting will be sent out to parents today, Amettis said.

Those who don’t attend the Jan. 17 meeting still can provide feedback online. The link to the survey will be posted on the school district’s website, www.hsd36.org. The last time the district took a communitywide survey was before former Superintendent Jill Gildea was hired in 2007, Amettis said.

In addition, the school board has four seats up for April’s election, with seven candidates in the running. The elementary school district has nearly 500 students and about 50 staff members. Officials plan to interview superintendent finalists in March. The board hopes to announce its hiring decision at the April 9 board meeting.

For now, the board hopes to gather “fresh perspective” from the community and staff, Amettis said.

“It makes sense [as part of hiring] a superintendent in a small community,” she said.

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