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Update: Craven headed to Peru District 124 as he prepares to exit DeKalb superintendent role

DeKalb superintendent to leave in June for another Illinois district

DeKalb School District 428 superintendent Jamie Craven announced that he would be leaving the district at the end of the school year.
DeKalb School District 428 superintendent Jamie Craven announced that he would be leaving the district at the end of the school year.

DeKALB – DeKalb District 428 superintendent Jamie Craven announced he would be leaving the district at the end of the school year for Peru District 124, an south of DeKalb.

Craven made the announcement during Tuesday's school board meeting, and confirmed his appointment Wednesday after he said the Peru school board voted 7-0 unanimously to appoint him as superintendent. Peru Elementary District, in LaSalle County, is significantly smaller than District 428, with just one elementary school and one middle school, and less than 1,000 students.

A special board meeting has been convened for District 428 Friday at noon during which the board will vote whether to solicit bid contracts for an independent search firm to begin the new search for DeKalb superintendent.

Craven said he expects to remain in DeKalb through the end of June.

"I know the board is aware that I have been offered a job, a position in another district," Craven said at the end of the meeting Tuesday. "I will be accepting that position. So I just wanted to formally let you know and thank you for the opportunity that I had here."

"Thank you very much for your work in this district," replied Board President Samantha McDavid. "Congratulations."

The board went into a closed session after and was unavailable for immediate comment. Craven shared a message he sent to district families with a Daily Chronicle reporter Tuesday night, and said he had 'mixed emotions' with the new position.

"While I am very excited about this new opportunity for my family and I, I will also miss working with the very dedicated faculty and staff here in DeKalb," Craven's message reads. "I am very proud of the work that we accomplished over the past three years and feel that the district is in a prime position to take great strides. I wish the district well as you continue to address those challenges that are before you."

McDavid said the board is currently working on a time frame and will keep the staff, parents and public updated as they work it out.

"We are very grateful for the work that's been accomplished in the last three years Mr. Craven has been here," McDavid said. "I think we're in a really good spot to continue moving forward and doing what's best for our students."

Craven was hired in June 2017 and replaced Doug Moeller, who resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal which has not yet gone to trial. Brad Hawk had bridged the two as interim superintendent.

At the time of his DeKalb hire, Craven was approved by a 4-3 vote, with current board members Victoria Newport and Jeff Hallgren among the no votes. His three-year contract was approved on June 6, 2017.

“Regardless of how the vote was, my job is still the same, and that’s to prove to the board, administration, faculty and community that I was the right choice,” Craven said at the time. “I’m spending some days here and there, but I’m anxious for July to get here so my sole focus is the DeKalb school district.”

Craven was superintendent at Rochelle for 10 years prior to taking the job at DeKalb. Moeller is currently awaiting trial on "revenge porn" charges.

During Craven's tenure, he's been overseeing the district's remote learning efforts as school buildings statewide remain closed through the end of the school year per Gov. JB Pritzker's order to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Craven has been effusive in his praise of parents, teachers, students and administrators throughout the process.

"This district has such a dedicated faculty and staff who work in the best interest of kids everyday," Craven continued in his resignation message. "I am very proud to say that I was a part of those efforts, even if only for a brief time. The children, families and community are so fortunate to have you."

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