SYCAMORE – The search for a new superintendent for Sycamore Sychool District 427 is primed to begin this summer after the district board, parents and other stakeholders lay out the characteristics of the ideal candidate.
The district’s search will begin in July with plans to hire a superintendent in January 2020, said Jim Dombek, board president. The new hire will then work under Kathy Countryman, the current superintendent, for the remainder of the school year.
Countryman plans to retire at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
“[Countryman] has a great rapport with staff, teachers, parents and the district, and I hope she will be able to transition that with the new superintendent,” Dombek said.
The board hired former district Superintendent Bob Hammond to undertake the search. Hammond has already begun the first part of the process by having the board and community members fill out a survey detailing the characteristics they would like to see in a new superintendent.
The board has completed its portion of the survey. Dombek said they want a superintendent who “promotes a positive and professional environment that includes mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff, administrators, the board and stakeholders.”
As a 25-year veteran of the district, Countryman has made a lot of connections within the Sycamore community that Dombek said he doesn’t want to see disappear.
“She knows the district well, and during that tenure she’s been able to meet a lot of people,” Dombek said.
Countryman said she has full confidence in the board as they begin their search for her replacement.
“They have a lot of longevity on the board, so they’re very committed,” Countryman said. “And our parents are amazing and very active in the school district. They see it as a part of a healthy community”
Most importantly, Countryman said, whomever the new superintendent will be, the students will continue to push for new subject areas and ways to learn, such as coding and turning metal welding into art.
“When I listen to where these kids are going, their plans and some of the jobs and interests they’ve had are things we never even heard of,” she said.
The next meeting of the District 427 Board is 7 p.m. May 28 at Sycamore Middle School.