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Local News

Joliet D-86 school officials prepare for superintendent search

Charles Coleman announces retirement for next school year

JOLIET – Joliet Public Schools District 86 board inspectors plan to review search firms for the next school superintendent, following the retirement of Charles Coleman. 

Coleman announced his retirement from his role as school superintendent to board inspectors in a June 10 letter. He stated in the letter that as he looked to an upcoming milestone in his personal and professional career, he made a “difficult decision” that the 2015-16 fiscal year will be his last with the Joliet school district. 

“It’s a family decision,” he said at Wednesday’s school board meeting. “My wife is an educator. She decided this past school year would be her last year, so it called me to engage in a lot of reflection and after a lot of soul searching, I decided this would be my final year.”

Coleman, who has more than 34 years as an educator, was hired to lead the school district in 2011. Before then, he was superintendent of Battle Creek Public Schools in Michigan for 10 years, as well as superintendent for Marion Community Schools in Marion, Indiana, for five years. 

His official retirement date is July 1, 2016. 

Board inspectors will plan to review six search firms and select one to conduct a search for the next superintendent. They also plan to hold open session interviews with the search firm candidates. 

Those firms include BWP & Associates from Evanston, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates from Rosemont, Illinois Association of School Boards, McPherson & Jacobson LLC from Nebraska, Ray and Associates Inc., and School Exec Connect from Highland Park. 

Board President Gwendolyn Ulmer said she wishes Coleman well.

“It’s sad to see him leave, but I understand he has family and obligations,” she said. 

Under Coleman’s leadership, the school district pursued and completed a three-year strategic plan to improve student achievement, services, technology and other areas. At Wednesday’s meeting, board inspectors unanimously adopted a new three-year strategic plan effective from the 2015-16 school year through 2018.

The school district has undergone several administrative changes across school under Coleman, with Ankhe Bradley serving as the new assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. New principals were appointed at several elementary schools as well. 

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