WHEATON – Community Unit School District 200 Superintendent Brian Harris will succeed Tom Leonard as head of Barrington Community Unit School District 220 starting July 1, according to a District 220 news release.
"Dr. Harris has all the qualities and values our community expects from a Barrington 220 superintendent," said Board of Education President Brian Battle in the release. "He is passionate about engaging students and staff in learning, he is accessible and personable, he understands important social-emotional aspects of educating children and he is familiar with our community."
The District 220 Board installed Harris on Thursday morning, and the District 200 board accepted his resignation that afternoon, according to a District 200 news release.
The resignation is effective immediately, according to a separation agreement posted on District 200's website. Harris will begin at District 220 on May 30 and will serve as a deputy superintendent until he takes over July 1, he said.
Harris informed the board of his intention to take the Barrington position May 14, the District 200 release states.
He previously spent several years working for District 220 as an assistant principal at the Barrington Middle School-Station Campus from 1993 to 1998, at which time he coordinated the district's K-8 social studies curriculum, according to the District 220 release. He also served St. Charles Community Unit School District 303, before his recent four-year stint as District 200 superintendent.
Harris said his time in District 200 was a privilege.
"It is a great community that supports their public schools," he said. "I can't say enough about our administration here. I absolutely loved it, and it's been an absolutely great opportunity."
He said he was recruited about a month and half ago and decided to make the move based on his previous professional connections and District 220's "unique and innovative" resources.
During his tenure with District 200, Harris oversaw four years of balanced budgets, a move toward digital education, the construction of a new building for Hubble Middle School, the implementation of a community engagement initiative and a failed referendum for funding improvements at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center.
Harris added that he was "honored" to serve the community and said he still believed District 200 to be a "destination district."
District 200 Board President Barbara Intihar said the board was sad to see him go, but understood the opportunity in front of him.
"We are proud of our accomplishments under Dr. Harris’ four years of educational leadership," she said in the District 200 release. "He is leaving us in a good position. We believe that the strong leadership team built by Dr. Harris, in partnership with the Board of Education, will ensure that our strategic focus remains steadfast – to continue inspiring excellence for all students."
Harris' new contract will span five years with a base salary of $260,000 and annual adjustments relating to the Consumer Price Index, which is comparable to Leonard's, according to the District 220 release. He currently makes $215,000 annually with similar adjustments.
Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services Faith Dahlquist will take over as interim superintendent until a replacement is found, the District 200 release stated.
Harris is obligated to assist in the search to "facilitate and expedite the search process and to provide for an orderly transition of the business of the District," according to the separation agreement.
Harris said he will supply the board with possible candidates and assist with screening and background work. The district does not intend to hire an outside search firm, the release said.
The agreement waives a $40,000 payment owed to the district due to Harris' early contract termination.