Kaneland School District 302 Superintendent Jeff Schuler has announced his intentions to resign and become the next superintendent of Wheaton Warrenville School District 200.
Schuler will begin his new job Sept. 4. He said on the phone Thursday that he made the decision one week ago, after the Wheaton Warrenville school board contacted him about drawing up a contract. Schuler said there was no particular reason that made him want to leave Kaneland, but rather he views District 200 as a “tremendous opportunity … to build success on a larger scale.”
The soon-to-be former Kaneland superintendent said he would miss District 302 and the relationships he had cultivated with board members and the community.
“The Kaneland community is an incredibly supportive community that values their public schools,” he said in a prepared statement.
Speaking about his new job, Schuler said that while it was premature to outline goals and plans, he hopes to foster a strong partnership with the community to ensure effective policies.
Schuler mentioned the “Engage 200” process that the Wheaton Warrenville district implemented to engage community members as a future tool that would help define and clearly outline what priorities residents have for the education system and how he could help.
District 200 Board Vice President Jim Vroman said during interviews with Schuler that Schuler integrated many points of Engage 200 into his presentation, something that meant a lot because the process “was so meaningful for all of us.”
“There is no other profession where you can have such a profound impact on the future of our communities and the future of our country,” Schuler said. “I serve in education because I can see the impact of our work and opportunities we create for kids.”
Kaneland Board of Education President Cheryl Krauspe in a written statement praised Schuler’s tenure as superintendent.
“He has been highly praised and recognized as a leader in educational excellence and improvement while he has served Kaneland,” Krauspe said. “We are proud of our accomplishments under Dr. Schuler’s four years of educational leadership.”
However, not all board members are sad to see Schuler leave.
Tony Valente said Schuler’s lack of experience and trouble communicating with the school board not only caused controversy, but hurt the district and made him unpopular with some residents.
“I’ve never come across a person, to be blunt with you, who said, ‘Wow, he is doing a great job.’ I’ve never come across that person,” Valente said.
The Proviso East High School principal said he would demand an interview process for potential candidates to replace Schuler.
The Board of Education will immediately begin planning to replace Schuler, Krauspe said.
“This is a significant decision, perhaps the most important one a board of education can make,” she said in a statement. “Taking this obligation seriously, we will be thoughtful and will not make this selection hastily.”
District 200 Board member Rosemary Swanson said the entire board agreed on Schuler’s selection, although member Jim Gambaiani was absent for the formal vote due to a family commitment.
“You clearly have your compass pointed in the right direction,” she said of Schuler. “I’m looking forward to seeing where you take us.”
Schuler’s base salary will be $225,000, and he will receive a pay raise each year based on the Consumer Price Index, with a 5 percent cap, according to his contract.
He also can earn an additional amount based on his annual performance evaluation rating, potentially bumping the increase up as much as another 2 percent annually.
• Nathan Lurz of Shaw Media contributed to this report.