Stability welcome at the top in Dist. 181

Community Consolidated District 181 had fewer administrator vacancies to fill this hiring season due to the vast majority of staff members sticking to their posts.

“Our administrator retention continues to trend in the right way,” John Munch, assistant superintendent for human resources, told board members at their Monday meeting. “We have a 92 percent retention going into next year as compared to a rate of 78 percent two years ago.”

Munch credited the board and Superintendent Hector Garcia for fostering a positive climate for educational leaders in the district.

“It really has been a dramatic shift in the last two years,” he remarked.

Board President Margie Kleber expressed her appreciation of the improvement in continuity.

“I would like to thank all of the administrators for your continued hard work and dedication. You have made our district a lighthouse district, and we couldn’t be happier to have you all back on board,” she remarked.

Garcia praised their work at both the district and building levels.

“We are very fortunate to have so many talented individuals in our district,” he said, noting the fresh challenges administrators have had to tackle with remote learning and other tasks. “If they appear to be a bit worn down, a large portion of the heavy lifting this year has fallen on their shoulders. Their work this year has been nothing less than inspirational.”

The board also approved administrator contracts for the 2020-21 school year. Each salary increased 2.3 percent over the previous year based on the consumer price index

Among the district’s nine principals, Ruben Peña at Hinsdale Middle School earns the highest salary of $139,003, followed by Martha Henrikson at Oak School with $122,523, Levi Brown at Clarendon Hills Middle School with $119,022 and Eric Chisausky at Walker School with $118,943. For certified staff at the district level, Assistant Superintendent of Learning Kathleen Robinson has the top salary of $166,820, followed by Munch with $153,673. Garcia, whose contract is negotiated separately, was paid $239,465 for the 2019-20 school year as part of a multi-year pact.

Munch reported that all of the district’s administrator hiring was complete.

“We’re fully staffed and ready to go for the ’20-21 school year,” he said, noting new staff members include Rick Engstrom to replace retiring Mohsin Dada at chief financial officer and Kristin Reingruber as the new principal at Monroe School.

“We’re really excited about the experience and just the knowledge that those people are bringing to those positions,” Munch said.

Board member Meeta Patel echoed Kleber’s expressions of gratitude.

“It’s been a long time since the district has been able to say that we have had overall stability. By in large our central office has stayed the same and there has been consistency in the work that you guys have done,” she said. “We’re very lucky to have had the stability that we have had in the district and we really look forward to continuing to work with you.”

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean