Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

44° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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The search for a new District 65 superintendent continues amid 5th Ward school difficulty

The+next+step+in+the+search+process+is+to+gather+feedback+from+District+65+community+members+to+create+a+leadership+profile.
Illustration by Shveta Shah
The next step in the search process is to gather feedback from District 65 community members to create a leadership profile.

The Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education has begun their search for a new district superintendent. Former superintendent Devon Horton announced his departure in April. Since then, Angel Turner has taken over as Interim Superintendent. 

At its Sept. 18 meeting, the board signed off on a deal with the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) to assist in the search for a new superintendent. 

The next step in the search process is to gather feedback from District 65 community members to create a leadership profile. According to School Board Secretary Adeela Qureshi, the profile “designates the attributes the district stakeholders are seeking in a superintendent.”

The district opened an online survey on Oct. 12 to collect feedback. They are also holding two focus groups for stakeholders to directly give their input to IASB consultants – one on Oct. 25 and the second on Nov. 4. 

Through both channels, stakeholders will share the traits, skills and characteristics they would most like to see in a new superintendent. The IASB will collect data from their needs assessment, gather candidate information, keep search records and coordinate the candidate pool for the district. 

“It’s important that we identify a leader who can ensure that vision meets reality and that a high-quality educational experience is provided to every child within our community,” District 65 Board of Education President Sergio Hernandez Jr. said in a letter to families. 

The new superintendent could potentially begin work during a tumultuous period for the district. Board members announced on Oct. 17 that they were $25 million over budget on a long-awaited 5th Ward school. Board members recently decided to scale the school down to grades K-5 instead of the previous K-8 model to stay within budget, but have not yet decided on a concrete design plan. 

During the board meeting where this alteration was approved, a number of public commenters criticized the situation. D65 teacher Ruth Young suggested that to save money, the board abandon the superintendent search and have Turner remain in the role, which received applause from the audience. 

“How about if we cut a couple other things, like the superintendent search, since we already have someone who’s transparent and is already doing their homework, and who is already inclusive and doing what they need to do,” Young said. 

Turner, who assumed her position in July, wrote in an Oct. 16 memorandum that she was unaware of construction and financing budgets for the 5th Ward school since they were not under her purview before she assumed the position. 

She noted in the memorandum that it was not clear to her that the budget for the new 5th Ward school was significantly above its original estimate and added that she didn’t learn about the mistake until August.

“Given the significant implications of this project currently underway and my commitment to lead with fidelity, it remains my goal to provide the Board with the information needed to ultimately determine the best path forward,” Turner wrote.

Email: [email protected]

Related Stories:

5th and 2nd Ward parents demand clarity, communication from District 65 board

Angel Turner named District 65 Interim Superintendent

District 65 community says goodbye to Devon Horton, board discusses superintendent search

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