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Joliet Township District 204 hopes to begin search for next superintendent

Joliet Township High School District 204 officials are taking steps to begin the process of replacing Superintendent Dr. Cheryl McCarthy, set to retire at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

The Joliet Township High School District 204 Board of Education sat in on a presentation Tuesday about the superintendent search process.

Officials are considering the prospect of enlisting the assistance of the firm School Exec Connect to find its next superintendent.

Tom Madden, a partner for School Exec Connect, gave his pitch on why the District should move forward with the services they provide.

In December 2017, McCarthy announced to the Board of Education her decision to retire after nearly 33 years.

She has assumed several different roles over the years, including math teacher, assistant principal and assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

“Every position I’ve had I’ve loved,” McCarthy said. “I could highlight something for each one. I am proud our district has a comprehensive strategic plan developed with the help of stakeholders and that’s followed.”

The next superintendent is not anticipated to start until at least July 2019.

Madden said the timing of McCarthy’s decision will be key to finding her replacement.

The superintendent search process involves several different components, including the creation of a leadership profile, interviews with the Board of Education, focus group meetings, an online survey and community forums.

Should the District find that its next superintendent is not the right fit, an agreement pending with School Exec Connect would allow the firm to find another, so long as it’s within a two-year timeframe.

The firm’s proposal to District 204 amounts to $16,900, plus $1,600 for regular expenses and additional costs for advertising as agreed upon by the Board of Education.

“Your next superintendent needs to be the right fit for this district,” Madden said. “Your superintendent search firm needs to be the right fit for this district.”

Madden acknowledged that District 204’s strength is its diversity and said there are challenges that come with diversity, as well.

School Exec Connect has demonstrated a 92 percent success rate at matching school districts with new superintendents.

Madden said the firm’s success is defined by superintendent placements and extensions.

In the past, School Exec Connect has completed searches for school districts in Downers Grove, Aurora and Mokena.

McCarthy prides herself on what she and others have accomplished while working for the District over the years.

“We have a great team,” she said.

When asked what she has in mind for life after Joliet Township High School District 204, McCarthy said she does not currently have any plans lined up.

“I will focus on being superintendent, making sure we follow our strategic plan,” McCarthy said, noting that her service to District 204 is not over yet. “I’m focused on that right now.”

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