Plainfield Schools to Name New Superintendent

Associate superintendent will “shadow” Supt. John Harper for the 2013-14 school year before taking the reins.

Two months after announcing its search for a new superintendent, the District 202 Board of Education will meet tomorrow in special session to appoint John Harper’s successor.

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The new associate superintendent will “shadow” current superintendent Harper for the 2013-14 school year and take over the role when Harper retires in July 2014, according to Director of Community Relations Tom Hernandez.


In September, the board announced it was inviting area superintendents to apply for the position.

Calling it a “very limited search,” board president Roger Bonuchi said it was important to the board to “pick someone who is from Illinois, who is local to Will County.”

Harper, who started his career as a social studies teacher at Indian Trail Middle School in 1981, has been superintendent since 2002.

In October, two committees — one comprised of District 202 administrators and the other of parents and school staff — interviewed candidates hoping to succeed Harper.

According to District 202 documents, Harper's base salary for the 2011-12 school year was $270,446, plus an additional $49,007 in benefits.

The special meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the District 202 administration center, 15732 Howard St. The agenda also includes orientation for prospective board of education candidates for the April 2013 consolidated election.

The filing period for candidates begins Dec. 17 and ends Dec. 26. Four seats, each carrying a four-year term, are up for election. 


  • District 202 Begins Search for New Superintendent
  • Administrator Salaries: How Do Nearby School Districts Stack Up? Plainfield District 202 Continues Superintendent Search


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Ray December 05, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Any idea how much the shadow is going to make? Are we going to be paying for two superintendents?
holeinone December 05, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Really....Harper needs a shadow? For what, to help spend i his $ 49,000 in expenses? So does that mean Harper will take less salary in 2013-2014 to pay for "his shadow". WOW is Plainfield School District screwed or I should say Plainfield tax payers are screwed.
Ron December 05, 2012 at 03:59 PM
How are the tax payers screwed? You and the rest of the residents elected the current school board. Maybe you should actually take the time to review the candidates who run for the board that make some of the decisions. Collectively, the decisions are made by them on behalf of the school district tax payers. Just like the labor agreement where the school teachers pay nothing into the pension system. Perhaps when election time comes up this Spring, the 'voters' will make some better choices than the last few elections. Remember when the Oswego School District wanted to 'build' a third high school. Look what happened to those who once sat on that board and to that project.
Lisa S. December 05, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Why exactly did the criteria include being from Illinois and local to Will County? I would prefer better qualified over local any day of the week. My years in this District have led me to believe we need someone who is NOT local and has no debt to anyone here. We had to search the country for teachers but we found a new Superintendent in the backyard? Sounds like they chose the candidate before the process started IMHO. Maybe if they had someone more qualified they wouldn't need to shadow Harper and cost us 2 salaries since we can barely afford one!
Zaney December 06, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Time to get the hell out of P-ville!!
wowza December 06, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Why on earth does this guy make that much money? It's ~100k more than our governor makes. He also makes more than the vice president, senators, congressmen....what the hell?
Just a thought December 06, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Shadow=let me show the next person how to maximize their pension that they will receive from the debt ridden State of Illinois. Most of the people in Illinois voted for Change in 2008,and forward in 2012. So why should we expect anything different from our school board, let the tax payers take care of our school board while we have a person shadow the superintendent so he can show the shadow how to achieve such an outrageous salary, cut programs in schools, remove teachers, reading specialists, support staff, etc. Ask the parents who already pay outrageous taxes to supply more while we give them less.
Ron December 06, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Why don't you ask the elected school board? Perhaps you and the rest of the voters need to hold them accountable.
JustAnOpinion December 06, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Small town Plainfield with a one track mind. Hello people...knock knock...where is the chatter about our accomplishments or how we have significantly higher test scores than most districts across the state? It's amazing how shortsighted all of you (so far) have been. I just knew when I started reading the comments, it would be filled with complaints about how much the position makes. You act as though this is "new news" and its a travesty to our community. Dr. Harper has been paid very well as our superintendent for many, many years and if you haven't circled the wagons on this topic until now, then you really haven't paid too much attention. It also proves you didn't start reading the news until you finally joined the rest of us and got a smart phone. I do disagree with the boards wanting to select a local replacement and I think they will end up casting a much wider net to ensure we are getting the very best candidate for the position. This is one of the most important positions in our community, one that will affect everyone who lives here. Let's not focus solely on the salary as this what the job pays. Yes, its a lot of money, but its the norm for the industry. You can always spot a cheep suit and when it comes to running our entire educational system, lets not let a dime get in the way of a dollar. PS- I also get my news from my smartphone.
Jackson December 06, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Opinion outlined well. It sounds however based on article that the choice has already been made. The Mayor shared that only 2 Candidates were interviewed by him, and that it was evident which choice was stand out. Only two ?? Predetermined by School Board ?? Questions that need to be addressed. Salary not issue. Competitive.
Sheila Raddatz December 06, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Personally, I think the school board is acting on the better interest of our children's education. With about 30 schools in our district, the transition period is warranted.
Tim December 06, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Accomplishments? Significantly more than half the schools in D202 didn't even meet state progress standards. The district as a whole has completely failed to meet adequate yearly progress standards. There is nothing special about 'Plainfield Schools'. That was just an advertizing slogan used to sell homes. Look for yourself, and find me a SINGLE category where D202 meets state standards; http://iirc.niu.edu/District.aspx?source=Comparison&source2=Scatter_Plots&districtID=56099202022&level=D Use evidence to support your claims, don't just make up a story that you would like to be true, and then repeat it thinking it will somehow make it true.
EdCenter December 06, 2012 at 03:39 PM
The issue of higher salary ranges for top education administration jobs does not rest with Plainfield alone. It is a result of the overall trend of richer benefits and salaries being the norm across the spectrum of the educational industry. We could have drawen a line in the sand by offering a lower tier salary hoping that by chance we somehow attracted a 'diamond in the rough' type candidate who takes the job and exceeds expectations, but do we really want our community to be the test case for this kind of an approach? The somewhat above average quality of our schools is really one of the only things Plainfield has consistently going for it right now. I also think those charged with organizing the search probably took a wise approach by focusing on local candidates first. If you cast a wider net right out of the gate, you are more likely to wind up with someone who has no real commitment to the long term success and stability of our district. Let’s hope instead we get someone who is well established in the area and wants to truly work in the best interests of the community and its students. If the new superintendent achieves great results and continues to make Plainfield an attractive market for new residents and established local families, will anyone legitimately be complaining that the salary is too high and the transition period was too long?
Ron December 06, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Here's someone who just wants to hear 'good stuff'. You sound just like all those people who pray. You should take a look at all of the salaries paid by the school district and see how big some pay raises have actually been. This school distrist has accomplished to dole out huge raises, increase property taxes, and give huge property tax breaks to big corporations and developers. Keep telling yourself that the school district has actually accomplished something just like when you pray. It does nothing but fool yourself. www.openthebooks.com
holeinone December 07, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Thanks Tim for the information on how D202 has excelled under Mr. Haper. His picture says it all - smiling all the way to the bank!


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