LEMONT – Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A is expected to name an interim superintendent in the coming weeks after the sudden resignation of Superintendent Susan Birkenmaier.
The Board of Education voted to accept Birkenmaier's resignation, effective Oct. 31, during a special meeting Oct. 24.
All six present members of the board voted to approve the resignation. Board member David Deitemyer was absent.
The district will operate under the leadership of Assistant Superintendent Mary Gricus for the remainder of the 2013-14 school year.
District administrators will continue to do their jobs and to work with the board on a strategic plan, according to Gricus.
Gricus said the abruptness of Birkenmaier's resignation is not ideal, but that it is a challenge that the district can handle.
"It's not typical, because the planning for the search process is usually something you would know in advance," she said.
Board President Cindy Kelly said she feels confident in Gricus' ability to lead the district.
"She's just so on top everything," she said. "I feel in good hands."
Kelly said the district will begin the search for its next superintendent after the school year.
Birkenmaier left D-113A to pursue other professional interests, according to a news release from the district.
She did not elaborate on where she was going and said the decision was a recent, but not an abrupt one.
"I think that the faculty and staff of District 113A are extraordinary," Birkenmaier said. "I will miss them and feel honored to have had the opportunity to work with them."
Kelly said the board was surprised when Birkenmaier informed them of her decision on Oct. 22.
"We want to make sure that everybody knows that we're going to be OK," Kelly said. "We're going to miss her, but we're going to be OK."
The district was in the midst of financial troubles when Birkenmaier was appointed superintendent, according to previous reports from Suburban Life Media. Her appointment came after the resignation of former superintendent Tim Ricker.
Birkenmaier was appointed superintendent in March of 2012, previous reports said. She officially began serving in the role in July of the same year.
At the time of her appointment, the board approved a three-year contract for Birkenmaier, under which she received $164,000 annually.
Birkenmaier was considered a good match for the district because of her administrative background in finance, according to previous reports.
Kelly said she is not sure of the reason for the amount of turnover regarding the superintendent position.
"It's just finding that fit," she said. "Hopefully we'll do it this time."
Kelly said one thing that will benefit the next superintendent is that the current Board of Education is less divided than it has been in recent years.
"We're one voice, as opposed to several different views," she said.
Birkemaier said she is confident in the district's existing leadership and the strategic plan in place.
"It wasn't my plan. It was the community's plan," she said. "I was the facilitator. And I was proud to be part of that."
The number of times Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A Assistant Superintendent Mary Gricus has had to assume leadership after the district superintendent resigned. The other times were in 1999, 2005 and 2011.