D65 board picks firm for superintendent search

Paige Leskin, Reporter

The Evanston/Skokie School District 65 board on Monday night selected the firm that will lead the search for its next superintendent.

The firm, ECRA Group’s Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, stood out for its impressive presentation and national reach, board president Tracy Quattrocki said.

The firm will pick a replacement for Hardy Murphy, who resigned Aug. 9 after 13 years as superintendent. He departed with two years left on his contract and a severance agreement of $175,000.

The board named Barbara Hiller and Mary Brown in August to temporarily fulfill the duties Murphy had for the 2013-14 school year. Hiller and Brown were appointed chief administrative officer and interim superintendent, respectively. The new superintendent that HYA chooses will start in September 2014.

Coming into the meeting, the board had narrowed down the field to four finalists, chosen Oct. 21 from seven proposals. On Monday, the four firms gave 10-minute presentations, followed by a half-hour Q-and-A with the board.

Board members discussed the pros and cons of each firm following the presentations. As they talked, the members found more drawbacks in the firms School Exec Connect and Ray and Associates, Inc. Members worried about the late timeline and focus on candidates from the Midwest that School Exec Connect presented. Board member Katie Bailey and others shared the concern that Ray and Associates’ large team would affect the quality of communication.

Of the two final firms, the board chose HYA over BWP and Associates in part due to the business D65 has conducted with HYA. The firm was involved in choosing Murphy for the superintendent position, and the board had confidence they could do it again.

Board vice president Richard Rykhus pointed out that the firm “has worked with our teachers before and knows them.” The board also noted Alan Leis of HYA, who will lead the search, as someone in whom they have faith.

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