School seeks new superintendent

Sarah Sandlow, News Editor

Mike Tarjan, assistant principal of student activities, hands a drawstring bag full of gifts to retiring Superintendent Mike Riggle (right) at the Homecoming Assembly. An independent firm, BWP & Associates, is running the search for Riggle’s replacement and will announce candidates prior to winter break. Photo by Andreea Sabau

With his desire to be “in the know” and his love for school involvement, senior Danny Brodson naturally has a passion for committees. Because he always stays current on district matters, he was eager to join a superintendent search committee to be an informed member of the search process to replace Superintendent Mike Riggle.

“I’m really close with [Riggle],” said Brodson. “[He] is my good friend, and he’s …  so knowledgeable in the educational world. It’s going to be hard to find someone [to replace him].

“When I found out about [the search], I told myself, ‘I’m going to be the person who helps to find the next superintendent.’”

Following the announcement of Riggle’s retirement, Glenbrook High School District #225 is in the process of working with an independent firm, BWP & Associates, to search for a new superintendent. The district has also drawn input from the community on key qualities of a superintendent through methods such as forums and surveys, and the candidate interview process is set to begin in November with the goal to reveal Riggle’s successor before winter break. The new superintendent is expected to start the next term on July 1, 2019.

Karen Geddeis, director of public relations and communications for the district, said the independent firm was employed to increase objectivity in the search process. The search firm first advertises the job opening and then prompts the community to provide input on important qualities of a superintendent. The Board of Education is presented with around eight to 10 candidates who fit this profile and will then narrow the group down to a few finalists to interview.

Ronald Barnes, founding director of BWP & Associates, said in a phone interview that one of the first steps of a superintendent search he takes with a school is sitting down with the board to put the entire process on a calendar. Then, he gets as many community members involved as possible to gain input on the strengths, challenges and special characteristics of the school district and community and other information that will help the board make the most informed decision possible. Community opinions will further be represented in a stakeholder committee, which is made up of a chosen group of students, staff and other community members. The committee is expected to interview the finalists towards the end of November in order to further help the board make the best decision for the district, but the names will remain confidential to the general public until right before winter break.

According to Brodson, it is important for students especially to have a role in the search process because the superintendent will be making decisions that can affect the student body. Although he will leave Glenbrook North before the new superintendent is in place, Brodson hopes the new superintendent is communicative, trustworthy and involved.

“People come to Northbrook and our community because of the schools,” said Brodson. “Our schools are amazing, … and that’s all dependent on the superintendent … the face of our district and our community. That’s why it’s so important to have a good superintendent for the community.

“I hope to come back to Northbrook, and I hope that our school district is just as well off, if not better than how I left it.”