Prentiss will depart D86 next spring

Hinsdale High School District 86 Superintendent Tammy Prentiss, on paid administrative leave since May 16, will remain on leave through next March and then retire under an agreement approved by the school board at a special meeting Monday night.

Board members emerged from a closed session discussion to vote on an amended employment contract with Prentiss that will end her tenure with the district four months earlier than originally planned. Board members split 5-2 on the measure, with Debbie Levinthal and Jeff Waters voting no. There was no discussion prior to the vote, and a joint statement was subsequently released by the board and Prentiss.

“The Hinsdale Township High School District 86 Board of Education and Superintendent Tamara Prentiss have mutually agreed to amend the superintendent’s employment contract and enter into an agreement that will conclude Ms. Prentiss’s employment as a District 86 administrator on March 31, 2024. The board will continue to partner with Ms. Prentiss in her remaining time as a district employee to ensure a smooth leadership transition.”

Under the terms of the agreement, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, Prentiss will receive a prorated amount of her $277,000 salary from July 1 through March 31, 2024.

A letter from Prentiss to board President Cat Greenspon and the board was attached to the agreement.

“Please accept this letter as my retirement as a licensed employee of Hinsdale Township District No. 86 effective March 31, 2024,” the letter reads.

The agreement contains a nondisparagement provision requiring board members to respond to questions about the deal solely by referencing the joint statement and letter cited above.

In January, the previous board voted 4-3 to extend Prentiss’ contract 31 days to July 31, 2024, to enable her to reach her fully vested retirement date. But a majority on the new board elected in April was decidedly less supportive of Prentiss, and she was soon on administrative leave, with Assistant Superintendent for Academics Chris Covino called upon to be acting superintendent.

The board on Monday also voted 5-2 to appoint Jason Markey, incoming assistant superintendent for academics, as acting superintendent to take over for Covino, who is departing to become superintendent of La Grange Elementary District 102 on July 1. Levinthal and Kay Gallo dissented without comment.

Covino will receive $10,140 on top of his regular salary for his 34 days as acting superintendent. The board has not indicated if Markey will be compensated at the same rate.

Long term, the district has begun efforts on a national search process for a new superintendent, which is expected to last several months. On Monday, Greenspon asked board members Asma Akhras and Peggy James to coordinate the selection of an interim superintendent to lead the district in the upcoming school year.

In a memo to Covino, Cheryl Moore, assistant superintendent of human resources, said District 214 in the northwest suburbs paid $1,000 day for their interim superintendent. Moore noted that those who participated in the Teachers’ Retirement System, such as retired administrators, are limited to 120 days of service in a fiscal year.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean