Archived Story

The search for superintendent begins

Published 11:17am Wednesday, February 3, 2010

By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star

The search is on for a new superintendent to replace Doug Law when he leaves the Niles Community School District at the end of the year.

With the district’s announcement Tuesday of six finalists for the job and the interviews scheduled, the hope is for a swift process, narrowing the field to two or three finalists and a decision that could come as soon as the beginning of March.

So just who are the candidates vying for the job and where are they coming from? The Star will take a closer look at each of the district’s six choices leading up to their public interviews next week.

Roger Prosise
Prosise is currently superintendent at Diamond Lake School District 76 in Mundelein Ill., located just outside of Chicago.

According to its Web site, Diamond Lake School District 76 educates students in pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade, with three public schools buildings – a total enrollment of 1250 students.
“District 76 is a diverse school district that is committed to challenging each student to achieve his or her highest potential,” Prosise is quoted as saying in his message posted on the site.

The district’s operating fund balance as of July 2009 was a reported $2.9 million.

Prosise has a relationship with the district spanning 11 years. In 2009, he contributed to a “Room for Debate” blog in the New York Times, which asked a handful of those in the education field to comment on issues or trends they are facing in their respective areas. Prosise discussed the importance of finding bilingual teachers to teach bilingual students effectively.

“I’m in my 11th year as the superintendent of the district, which has 1,300 elementary school students,” Prosise told the Times. “Half of them are Latino, and 40 percent are low-income. During my first five years we tried bilingual education. During this time, the bilingual teachers (who were and are Latina) came to me and said that the bilingual program wasn’t working in our district. Their observations were backed up by the results on standardized assessments. The teachers were not satisfied with student progress and were concerned that there weren’t enough quality bilingual teachers to staff the program in later grades.”

Prosise goes on to explain the need for quality bilingual teachers in districts like his.
“The bilingual program didn’t work in my district because of the shortage of bilingual education teachers, who, in addition to being fluent in both languages, must get a bilingual endorsement from the state,” he said.

As early as second grade, Diamond Lake School District offers its students a chance to participate in various activities including the school’s newspaper, intramural sports and chess club, its Web site states.

Even without a high school building (the Diamond Lake sends its students to high school in a nearby district) students have the opportunity to take part in accelerated courses and take part in required music and arts classes.

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