Board: D. 202 to Hire New Superintendent by December

The Plainfield School District is staying local in its search for a deputy superintendent. The new administrator will fill Supt. John Harper’s shoes when he retires in July 14.

The Plainfield School District is hoping to recruit a new superintendent from a field of local candidates.

Board president Roger Bonuchi said the district has sent letters inviting superintendents from area districts to throw their hats into the ring.

The candidates will vie for a new deputy superintendent position. Whoever is chosen will ultimately replace longtime Superintendent John Harper, who is set to retire in July 2014.

“We consider it a very limited search,” said Bonuchi.

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“One of the reasons was that we knew we wanted to pick someone who is from Illinois, who is local to Will County,” Bonuchi added, saying board members want to make sure that whoever replaces Harper understands the state funding situation and the district’s demographics.

Harper, who has been superintendent since 2002, will retire at the end of a 33-year career in District 202.

Two committees — one comprised of District 202 administrators and the other of parents and school staff — will interview the candidates this fall and make their recommendations to the board.

“Our goal is to have our selection made and to offer a contract by December,” Bonuchi said.

He acknowledged that the board’s timeline means the district will be paying salaries to both Harper and the new deputy superintendent at the same time.

Bonuchi said the district will fund the new administrator’s salary using money saved by the departures of four highly paid assistant superintendents, all of whom have been replaced by staffers making lower salaries.

He cited former assistant superintendents Sharon Gronemeyer (student services), John Prince (business and operations), Carmen Acevedo (curriculum and instruction) and Darlene von Behren (administration and personnel).

“Every one of those people made considerably more than the people who are in those positions now,” Bonuchi said.

He declined to give the salary range proposed for the new deputy superintendent.

“I’m not going to reveal that information because it’s part of the contract negotiations and it’s personnel,” Bonuchi said.

He added that a professional superintendent search consultant is helping the district find a replacement for Harper “so we’re doing it legally and fairly.”

District 202 Community Relations Director Tom Hernandez said fees paid to the consultant, Dr. Linda Hanson of School Exec Connect, are capped at $2,500, plus ancillary expenses including the cost of copying documents. He said he did not yet know the total amount Hanson will be paid since she is working through District 202's attorneys, and any costs associated with the search will be part of the district's regular monthly legal bills.


  • District 202 Begins Search for New Superintendent
  • Plainfield School Board OKs Deficit Budget for 2013
  • Plainfield Schools: 12 of 28 Campuses Make AYP 


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holeinone September 28, 2012 at 03:39 PM
So how does someone run a school district broke, students grade averages drop and then deciede to retire and collect a huge pension. And on top of all of this our great school board wants to pay someone to sit in and learn from this great accomplisments. WOW....let's get out and vote...GET Mr. Harpers school board out before they destroy Plainfield schools even more.
Vera October 06, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Does anyone know why the board is holding its deputy superintendent interviews at the Plainfield Police station next week?
oldschool October 06, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Too much hiring from within in this district...educational inbreeding.
Vera October 06, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Preparing nepotism for the future. Too many board members with employees in the district.
Vera October 06, 2012 at 05:55 AM
The board president said they don't want to hire a stranger. They want to hire someone they trust and know. Well, hopefully, they know someone who has a record of making tough decisions, knows how to deal with a diverse student population with a variety of needs and can say no to the board when the members want to make a decision that will win them popularity points. I doubt they would hire such a person, but you got to hope. At least, I saw Harper stand up to them and tell them no - despite a cushy contract. I'm afraid the new superintendent (based on invitation only) won't have that backbone. Hopefully, Patch can get the names of the folks they interviewed and do an in-depth story on their records, interviewing parents, staff and board members from that district. Patch - please don't let us down!


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