On Aug. 19, the District 65 School Board unanimously appointed Heidi Wennstrom and Phil Ehrhardt to serve as Interim Superintendents for the District for the 2019-2020 School Year.
Board President Suni Kartha said both are veteran educators who retired this spring, and have served as teachers, school administrators and superintendents.
Ms. Kartha said the Board “opted to hire two retired superintendents to work staggered part-time schedules to make sure we have strong experienced leadership available to serve staff, students and families on a full time capacity because there are limitations on retired superintendents and how many days they can work.”
At a July 18 meeting, a representative of BWP & Associates, the District’s Superintendent search consultants, told the Board that a person must be certified by the State to be a Superintendent in order to serve as an Interim Superintendent, and as a practical matter most people who are qualified for the position are retired superintendents. Retired superintendents may only work 120 days a year, or else they risk losing their pensions, he said.
BWP thus recommended hiring two people to share the position, with each to work about 100 days a year. The Board decided to do so.
Dr. Wennstrom has more than 30 years of service in public education and recently retired from Butler School District 53 where she served as Superintendent for the past six years.
Dr. Ehrhardt has more than 40 years of experience in public education and recently retired from Benjamin School District 25 in West Chicago where he served as Superintendent for the past 12 years.
Both Dr. Wennstrom and Dr. Ehrhardt were complimentary of the administrators and teachers they have met so far. Dr. Wennstrom added, “Phil and I are looking forward to working with the teams that you have put in place. ... Your work and your focus on the key tenets in ensuring equity and quality education for students is something that is very near and dear to our hearts, so I feel blessed to be part of this.”
Dr. Ehrhardt said, “We feel honored to come on board. … We look forward to working with the School Board in collaboration with the staff, students and parents and the community to move the District forward on the priorities that Heidi has already mentioned to you. Our goal and the bottom line is to do what is best for students so they become successful as a whole child.”