State Board Moving Forward with Transition to New Superintendent

October 18, 2001

Further information:  217/782-4648

The State Board of Education is moving forward with plans for an orderly transition to a new State Superintendent of Education, Board Chairman Ronald J. Gidwitz reported at the Board's monthly meeting today in Springfield.

Gidwitz said the Board had hoped to have "an action item" regarding the transition at today's meeting, but he said "the Board simply is not yet at that point."

The Chairman did however update the audience on the transition process.  Three components will guide the process, he said.

"First, three outside studies will inform the search for a permanent superintendent; second will be the search process itself and the third involves the appointment of an interim superintendent to lead the agency after Superintendent McGee leaves and until a permanent successor is hired," the chairman reported.

"The overriding goal of the transition process," Gidwitz said, "is to provide better services to school districts so they can do the best job possible educating their students."

Gidwitz said the studies of the agency "will give us important information that will further improve the way we serve local districts."

Gidwitz said they are talking to several nationally know firms and he thought much of the work would be done at no cost to the state.  He outlined three studies to be completed during the transition period:

  * Examining the agency's infrastructure and how it actually performs - its functionality in serving the schools and districts.
  * Reviewing human resource processes to suggest ways to better treat, develop and manage agency employees so they are providing optimum service to our customers.
  * Looking for better ways to align services so they have the biggest possible impact on successful programs already in place in local districts.

The chairman stressed that these studies are not aimed at reducing agency headcount, which he said will reach the planned goal of about 725 by the end of the current fiscal year.

For the actual search, Gidwitz said the board will retain a search firm and conduct a nationwide search for the best candidate - though he said the Board leans toward hiring someone from Illinois.  Committees will be created to oversee various aspects of the search.  The Board intends to make an announcement of timelines and to produce a request fro proposals to hire a search firm in the very near future.

The Board has received several names of potential candidates for Interim Superintendent from a variety of sources, according to Gidwitz.  "We have engaged in discussions among ourselves and with candidates and we have narrowed the field," he said.  "We hope to have something definitive to say quite soon."

State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee announced in August that he is not seeking to extend his contract that runs through December 31.