The Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 Board of Education at its regular meeting on March 18, 2019 appointed Eric Olson, Ed.D. as its next Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Olson will officially join District 64 on July 1. He is replacing Dr. Laurie Heinz, who is leaving the District at the end of the school year to become Superintendent of Palatine CCSD15.
Dr. Olson is currently in his fifth year as Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning at Arlington Heights School District 25 in Arlington Heights, where he guides curriculum, instruction and assessment for 5,500 students and more than 800 staff members at nine buildings.
According to Board President Anthony Borrelli, the Board was particularly impressed with Dr. Olson’s “long, rich and experienced background in the education field” and his “philosophical focus that all decisions are based on what is best for the children.”
President Borrelli noted that when gathering information to reach a decision, “Dr. Olson believes in wide and varied input to shape the conversation and community desires of an issue. He is a skilled communicator with an open and appealing style, which will encourage conversation and relationships,” he added.
Further, Dr. Olson “understands the importance and necessity to listen and understand the viewpoints of others, to unite individuals, to pool their talents together, to appreciate and recognize what is working well and to pinpoint what needs attention,” President Borrelli pointed out.
As the District’s new leader, “Dr. Olson seeks to motivate and inspire and in turn be inspired from others,” President Borrelli added. (Read President Borrelli's statement here.)
“I am both excited and honored to have been selected to serve as the next superintendent of District 64, and I would like to thank President Borrelli and the entire Board of Education for this opportunity and to all groups involved in the interview process,” Dr. Olson stated.
“I look forward to collaborating with the school board, staff, our families, and our community to continue to enrich the lives of our students. By working together, we can ensure the best education possible for our students. I am eager to begin the transition,” he added.
Prior to becoming District 25’s Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Olson was principal of the district’s Patton Elementary School for three years. Previously, he was principal for five years of Elm Place Middle School in North Shore School District 112 and served as assistant principal of the grades K-8 Park View School for two years in Morton Grove School District 70.
Dr. Olson began his career in education at Wood Oaks Junior High in Northbrook School District 27 where he taught primarily English Language Arts and reading. He also taught English at Mundelein High School in District 120 before moving into administration.
A graduate of Northeastern University, Dr. Olson received his master’s degree in language and literacy and his Type 75 administrative certificate from National-Louis University. He also completed his doctor of education degree there.
The appointment of Dr. Olson concludes three months of intensive activity for the District 64 Board. Working with the assistance of School Exec Connect search consultants, the Board selected from a pool of seven candidates recommended from the 30 applications screened by SEC. SEC’s New Superintendent Profile -- created through input from all voices in the community via an online survey, focus groups and community forum -- helped guide the Board in its selection process.
Following the Board’s initial round of interviews on March 4 and 5, the Board identified two finalists to be interviewed by a 17-member Stakeholder/Confidential Committee on March 11 and 12. The committee included representatives from D64's employee organizations, District and building administration, school-related organizations, parents and community members. Candidates for the D64 Board in the April 2 election also were observers at the confidential sessions. Committee members provided written feedback to the Board, before the Board conducted its own extended interviews leading to the selection of Dr. Olson.
District 64 will be scheduling an opportunity for staff, families and community members to welcome Dr. Olson during his transition to District 64 later this school year.
PHOTO - Dr. Eric Olson