D122 Appoints Interim Superintendent to Replace Smyth
Former D122 superintendent parts way over "philosophical differences." Board of education appoints assistant superintendent as leader of Ridgeland District schools.
Ridgeland School Dist. 122 board members accepted the resignation of Superintendent Tom Smyth during a special meeting on Monday.
Smyth resigned over “philosophical differences” after serving as the D122 superintendent for 5 years.
“I enjoyed my stay at Ridgeland and the teachers and staff,” Smyth said. “I enjoyed working with the board but it was time to move on.”
Smyth said he could not go into detail over what the philosophical differences were or what some have described as his “sudden resignation.”
D122 board members also appointed the district’s assistant superintendent of special programs, Julie Shellberg, as interim superintendent for the 2012-13 school year effective immediately.
“I’m behind the wheel,” Shellberg said. “I am superintendent and I have the confidence of the board and the ability to make decisions and changes. It’s not going to be status quo for the year.”
Shellberg has been with the school district for eight years overseeing specialized programs. She reorganized Dist. 122’s special education programs and preschool program that serves over 240 preschool age students annual. Shellberg has also helped land several district grants.
Prior to joining Dist. 122, she was the director of student services for Lincoln Elementary School District 156 and Evergreen Park Community High School District 231.
Shellberg said her first priorities transitioning the district’s math program to the Common Core Standards adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education.
The D122 board of education does not plan to begin searching for a permanent superintendent until February 2013, according to board president Dan Sodaro.
“We’re still absorbing this,” Sodaro said. “At this point on a personnel level we’re taking life one day at a time.”
Sodaro said the transition to the interim superintendent is so far going smoothly.
“Julie has been with us eight years. She’s very capable. “It’s not like she’s unknown to the board or the community.”
The D122 board president said that Smyth’s resignation “happened fast.”
“What the board and community were looking and what Tom was looking for—we were moving in separate directions,” Sodaro said. “Tom’s a really good guy and we wish him nothing but the best.”
Ridgeland Dist. 122 is comprised of five schools including Harnew, Columbus Manor, Kolb and Lieb Elementary Schools, and Simmons Middle School. The district serves students in Oak Lawn resident west of Central Avenue.
Shellberg said she hoped to eventually become the district’s permanent superintendent.
“The board hasn’t had much of a chance to put a plan together for a search committee,” she said.