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Downers Grove District 99 to hire superintendent by Dec. 14

DOWNERS GROVE – A search firm working for Community High School District 99 has set Dec. 14 as the anticipated date for the Board of Education to hire the next superintendent.

Thomas Madden and Kathryn Robbins of School Exec Connect said during the board's July 20 meeting that would be the scheduled date for the board to ratify a contract with the new head administrator.

Madden said the firm will start posting the job the first week of August. The firm will collect applications through mid-October and select the 20 most qualified candidates to interview.

It will then narrow the candidate pool to six, who will be interviewed by the board.

The board will tentatively interview the candidates Oct. 19 in a closed session meeting, before choosing three finalists to interview again with other district stakeholders. Those interviews are tentatively planned for Oct. 26.

Superintendent Mark McDonald will retire from the district after the 2015-16 school year.

Robbins said there will be online surveys, focus groups and a community forum to get feedback on what different groups are looking for in the next superintendent.

"We definitely want the community input," board member Michael Davenport said. "This is meaningful to us."

Madden said the search will be confidential, which will help ensure the district gets the best applicants. Only the name of the person hired will be revealed.

Board President Nancy Kupka said the board would like to hire a sitting superintendent.

"We feel, and maybe we're a little naive, but we think this is kind of a powerhouse of a district," she said.

Board member Rick Pavinato agreed, and said he doesn't think the district should hire someone to "cut their teeth" on the job.

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