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Divided District 61 Board Names New Special Services Director

Two board members opposed the hiring process used to appoint Carol Schultz, who comes to the district from Chicago State University.

Carol Schultz agreed Wednesday morning to join as director of special services, after the Board of Education approved her appointment Tuesday night amid two dissenting opinions.

The board voted 4-2, with Deborah Gaspari and Claudia Manley voting against the selection. Board member Janine Kiwiet was absent.

Gaspari said her vote was not against Schultz but rather against the process that the district used during the job search. She said she felt the hiring process was too centralized within the district’s administration and the board hadn’t been involved enough.

Manley said she also felt that the board, as well as the community, should be more involved in administrative hiring.

“That’s not the charge I’ve been given,” Superintendent Bob Carlo said. “My charge is to hire the best people. I’m accountable.” 

Board President Bob Rzeszutko backed up Carlo and said that the district was following standard hiring protocol for administrative positions.

“How do we know it’s the best person?” Manley asked.

“Because we trust,” Rzeszutko said. 

Schultz comes to District 61 with 25 years of experience in education. She chairs the department of doctoral studies at Chicago State University, where she works with teachers in both urban and suburban schools, offering training and support. 

She previously served as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the nearby Hinsdale School District 181. In Summit Hill School District 161, she served as assistant superintendent for curriculum and special education.

“Quite honestly, she’s been overqualified,” Manley said.

Rzeszutko said he couldn’t believe that Manley would say that.

“Do you understand what those qualifications mean?” he said. “If you don’t want that person, that’s amazing to me.” 

Schultz will officially join District 61 on July 1.

Gaspari said she would like to resume a discussion about district hiring procedures at a future board meeting.

Eva K April 30, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Am I to understand that the board was not part of the vetting process? If not, what is the School Boards purpose? What are the district hiring procedures?
Lauren Williamson (Editor) April 30, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Hi Eva, From what I understand, the board got copies of the finalists' resumes after asking for them. Carlo made the final decision on the top candidate. The board then voted by a measure of 4-2 to accept Carlo's decision. The board gets more involved in the hiring process for the superintendent only, which is general practice in Illinois. This article from the Illinois Association of School Boards explains some of the reasoning behind limiting a board's involvement in other hiring decisions: http://www.iasb.com/journal/j010211_06.cfm

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