District 74 names new superintendent
Joseph Bailey Jr. has been picked as District 74's new superintendent. | Contributed photo
Updated: April 15, 2013 2:11AM
LINCOLNWOOD — When it came time last week to make the long-awaited hire of a permanent superintendent, School District 74 officials did not withhold their glee.
Grinning widely, John Vranas summed up the board’s collective sentiment: “I am so excited.”
After conducting a nationwide executive search last fall after a tumultuous year, District 74 is turning to local educator Joseph Bailey Jr. to lead Lincolnwood’s public elementary schools.
The Board of Education revealed Bailey as their top choice for superintendent and approved his three-year contract with a base salary of $220,000 on Feb. 7.
“I’m very excited about Dr. Bailey moving District 74 forward,” Vice President and Secretary Darlene Fourkas stated in an email read aloud at the board meeting.
President Scott Anderson added Bailey is “the best choice to help us give our kids the first-rate education that they deserve.”
The school district hosts a public reception to welcome the new administrator Tuesday, Feb. 12, 4:30 p.m. at Todd Hall School, 3925 W. Lunt Ave.
Bailey currently serves as superintendent of Medinah School District 11, a three school, K-8 district serving roughly 630 students in DuPage County.
He leaves his post after a decade with the district to come to Lincolnwood starting July 1.
“I’m very excited and very blessed,” Bailey said of the appointment. “I have no doubts whatsoever this is going to be a very good situation.”
Bailey has spent the majority of his career in school districts far west and southwest of Chicago, including Indian Prairie School District 204, the fourth largest school system in the state. There, as principal, he opened Graham School in Naperville before leaving for a superintendent post in Lockport.
Bailey has also served as an administrator in Westmont, Plano and Franklin Park, and began his career teaching grades three, four and six.
Bailey said Lincolnwood’s “reputation over the years has really been stellar” in spite of recent troubles. District 74 is well known for having high-quality staff and first-rate facilities, and for “putting the kids first,” he said.
He added he was also impressed with the Board of Education.
“I think the key elements are there for Lincolnwood and for me personally to really blossom and to move forward together in many ways,” he said. “Hopefully 1,500 children will benefit from that relationship.”
Bailey, who has five children of his own, said he most looks forward to meeting and getting to know Lincolnwood’s students, as well as their families and the community.
“I think I’m going to do a lot of listening and do a lot of visiting,” he said.
Anderson said the school board arrived at the decision to hire Bailey with “careful consideration of what this district needs at this critical time in its history.”
The appointment of a new leader represents the turning of a page for District 74, which was mired by several public controversies last year involving top employees. Since the resignation of Mark Klaisner last March, the district has been without a permanent superintendent.
Klaisner and Susan Brandt, the former assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, abruptly left their posts one week after voters defeated a controversial referendum to build a new middle school.
Their voluntary departure — due to “philosophical differences” with the Board of Education, according to a statement — left the school district scrambling for two weeks before current interim superintendent Kenneth Cull took over.
The district’s three-pronged administrative team completely crumbled in June with the firing of assistant superintendent of business Kevin Nohelty.
The loss of superintendents, and the stepping down of two board members and the Lincoln Hall principal, forced the school board to seek new leadership at every level of operation.
A temporary administrative team composed of Cull, Business Manager Darrell Moon and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Kim Nasshan has been guiding the school district through its transitional year. All three of their contracts are set to expire June 30.
April Miller, currently in her first year as principal of Lincoln Hall, is also leaving at the end of the school year.~.