Superintendent Search 2023
This page will serve as a central location where you will find all the latest information regarding the Superintendent search. Clicking on the "+" below will expand the table.
The District 64 Board of Education will approve the employment of Dr. Ben Collins as Superintendent at a special meeting on Wednesday, May 3rd, at 6:00 pm in the Hendee rooms at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center.
After the brief meeting, there will be a reception open to all community members to welcome Dr. Collins. He will officially join District 64 on July 1st.
Dr. Collins is wrapping up his sixth year as the Principal at Maine South High School, where he’s provided vision and leadership for 310 staff members and 2,500 students.
Board President Dr. Denise Pearl said, “Dr. Collins has established a strong presence as a visible leader in this community, forming productive and trusting relationships with students, parents, staff, fellow administrators, and external community members/partners.”
“He understands and appreciates the high level of engagement and passion in Park Ridge-Niles,” said Dr. Pearl.
In addition to leading Maine South, Dr. Collins was the Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning at Maine West High School for four years. Before working in District 207, Dr. Collins was at Batavia High School, starting as a Music Teacher and Music Department Chair. He was then promoted to the Division Coordinator for Fine Arts, Physical Education, Family & Consumer Science, and one of the 504 Coordinators.
“I am beyond excited to serve the District 64 students, staff, and community. The School Board, District Administrators, and Building Principals were wonderfully welcoming and encouraging throughout the interview and search process,” said Dr. Collins. “In my current role, I have a front-row seat to the world-class education District 64 students receive.”
“In the coming months, I look forward to working with the School Board, meeting staff and students, and listening to our community to ensure that our district’s mission is being carried out,” he further added.
The current Board made the final decision, but it was also a collaborative process with the three incoming members, who were involved in the interview process and conversations. Board Vice President Carol Sales headed the search for a new superintendent and echoed the excitement on this selection, “Dr. Collins is a well-known and respected member of our community for his leadership at Maine South,” said Sales.
“His strong and effective communication skills stood out amongst a group of very qualified candidates,” said Sales. “We look forward to him nurturing the education of our children through their more formative years in the empathetic manner he brought to his role at Maine South while respecting the traditions of D64 in educating the whole child.”
A graduate of the University of Illinois, Dr. Collins also holds a master’s degree in Music Education from Illinois and a master’s in Educational Leadership from Aurora University. He received his doctorate from Loyola University Chicago.
Hiring a new superintendent is the final step in the process, which started in February. The Board selected Dr. Collins with the help of BWP & Associates search consultants. The Board interviewed six candidates in mid-April, recommended by BWP from a larger pool of 21 applicants. A Leadership Profile, prepared through input from the community via an online survey and small group meetings, also helped guide the Board through the process.
Please know that the Board of Education will not be voting on the approval of a Superintendent candidate at the April 20th, 2023, regular meeting. Initially, this was a potential target date for that to happen, but the Board will only be providing an update on the Superintendent search at the April 20 meeting.
BWP presented its Superintendent Leadership Profile to the Board at the special Board of Education meeting on April 11th. You can view the leadership profile here.
BWP used focus groups and the online survey as data sources to build the profile. The focus groups included:
- School Board interviews
- School Board candidates
- Parents/Community members
- Administrative team
The superintendent search survey resulted in 1,347 respondents.
The first round of interviews will take place on April 12th and 13th.
Mark Friedman with BWP gave an update on the search for a new superintendent at the Board's March 16th regular meeting. The search firm recently began its screenings but said they would have five to six candidates to present to the Board for the first round of interviews.
- He added that they’d received about 21 applications.
- “The most important thing is when we started this, there was a question if anybody was going to be interested. We’ve proven that there is interest,” said Friedman on the search. “There are people who are not outgoing after every job that’s happening, and they’ve targeted this position.”
The Board will begin interviews with the candidates on the week of April 10th. On April 11, the Board will go over the Superintendent's profile and other information and continue on April 12 and 13. The final round of interviews will be on April 18 & 19.
- These meetings will start at 6:00 pm and be closed sessions.
The Board plans on announcing the new superintendent at the April 20th regular Board of Education Meeting.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our online superintendent search survey; more than 1,200 surveys were completed.
BWP has provided the data from the responses, and you can view that info here.
Dear District 64 Community,
The Board of Education of Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 is inviting all members of the District 64 community to participate in the search process for a new school superintendent, either in person at a public forum on Tuesday, February 21st, or by completing an online survey.
The Board has launched a national search for a new superintendent and is working with BWP & Associates to facilitate the pursuit. BWP has conducted hundreds of superintendent searches throughout the area.
An important part of a superintendent search is obtaining information from staff and the community. There are two ways that the District and our partner BWP will ask for your input.
The first is through an online survey starting on February 20th and running through February 28th. When the survey is made active, it will be made available on the District 64 website.
The second opportunity for input will be an in-person meeting with representatives of BWP. All community members are invited to this meeting on Tuesday, February 21st, from 6:00 pm to 6:45 pm in the Hendee Rooms at the Jefferson Early Childhood Center, 8200 Greendale Ave. Niles, IL. BWP will also separately meet with staff, administrators, and school board candidates to gather information.
Your input and perspectives are valuable. Please help us by participating in the survey and attending the meeting on February 21st.
The District 64 Board of Education
The Board of Education conducted a special meeting on February 9th, 2023, to discuss the options for the Superintendent search.
You can watch the video from this meeting here.
Due to lawyers still looking over the contract with BWP, the action item of approving the contract with BWP has been moved to the February 16th Board meeting.
A majority of the Board requested that BWP start this process as a "closed search" to help protect the anonymity of potential applicants and possibly attract a sitting Superintendent. BWP agreed that this was the best way to start, so they're not discouraging anyone from applying.
“So we can tell candidates this is a closed search and that your name is not going to be dragged through the process, and by the time it gets to the end, your whole community knows,” said BWP President Dr. Mark Friedman on the topic of getting candidates to apply with a closed process and not having to worry about what goes on in their home district. “That’s the reassuring thing that will get people to get their applications in and stick with it.”
BWP also asked the Board if a doctorate was a requirement for a candidate or if experience as a seated superintendent was a prerequisite. The Board discussed these points and conveyed to BWP that they would prefer a seated superintendent with a doctorate, and they would consider a candidate that was in a serious place in the process of completing a doctorate. The Board also said these things were not absolute when looking at applicants.
A tentative timeline for the superintendent search was also presented:
Week of 2/13 - Advertising/posting of position begins on BWP website, Illinois Education Job Bank, American Association of School Administrators? etc. Link D64 website to BWP site.
2/19 to 3/15 - Consultants recruit, review applications, confirm accuracy of paperwork, and research candidate backgrounds.
Week of 2/20 - BWP consultants conduct stakeholder/community engagement meetings and launch online survey. (1:1 Board members, open staff, open community)
3/15 - Deadline for applications. Consultants complete paper screening and conduct initial interviews.
Week of 4/3 - BWP consultants present slate of finalists to Board of Education, conduct interviewing workshop with Board and review next steps.
Week of 4/3 - Board conducts first round of interviews.
One week after first round of interviews, Board invites back two or three finalists for second interviews.
Contract is offered and approved as soon as possible.
The Board selected BWP to assist in the Superintendent search process.
A special board meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, February 9th, 2023, at 6:00 pm with BWP to plan the search process and timeline further. The meeting will be in the Jefferson Early Childhood Center - Hendee Rooms.
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