District 161 approves separation agreement with superintendent

Craig Doster’s tenure as Flossmoor School District 161 superintendent has come to an end.

At a special meeting Tuesday, board of education members approved a separation agreement with Doster, District 161’s superintendent for the last six years.

  Craig Doster

According to a press release from the district, Doster and the board of education are ending their contractual relationship effective Dec. 31, 2016.

Doster’s contract was supposed to run through the end of the 2017-18 school year.

On Wednesday, Board President Stephen Paredes told the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle that Doster will be compensated for the portion of his contract that runs through the end of the 2016-17 school year.

The separation follows a mutual agreement and Doster’s resignation, the press release states.

“It is important to the parties that this is not a result of fault or misconduct, but rather due to philosophical differences in direction and approach that could not be reconciled,” according to the press release.

“Dr. Doster would like to thank the students, staff, teachers, directors, administrators, board of education, parents and community for their ongoing commitment and collaboration in striving to achieve the educational vision at Flossmoor School District 161,” the release says. “In turn, the board would like to thank Dr. Doster for his contributions to the school district during his time as superintendent.”

The release says “both parties sincerely wish the district and each other continued success.”

On Tuesday, board members also retained BWP and Associates as a consultant to help find both an interim school superintendent and a full-time superintendent who will start at the district next summer. Paredes said the search by BWP for both positions will likely cost between $16,000 and $20,000.

Paredes said the board is likely to hire an interim superintendent within the next two weeks. BWP is expected to bring the board the names of two retired superintendents who could be in charge of the district the remainder of the school year. The board will select one of them, Paredes said.

The search for a full-time superintendent will start this month, Paredes said. The job will be advertised nationally although Paredes said the search will probably focus more on candidates from around the Midwest. He said he expects a new superintendent will be chose by next March. Committees of staff members and stakeholders will be formed to help select the superintendent, he said.

BWP was recently hired as the consulting firm to help District 233 search for the next principal at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. The firm’s efforts have already begun, and a presentation will be made by BWP at the Nov. 15 school board meeting.

Doster has been on a leave of absence for the last three weeks. District staff learned about the leave of absence on Oct. 18, one day after a group of District 161 parents presented a letter to the school board demanding Doster’s immediate removal.

The letter, reportedly signed by more than 400 district residents, was highly critical of Doster and said parents no longer have confidence in him, especially due to declining standardized test scores in the district.

Frances LaBella, District’s 161’s assistant superintendent for business operations, has been coordinating operations since Doster’s leave of absence began.

Prior to coming to District 161, Doster was school superintendent in Ottawa.  

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