by Sara Laurie
KANELAND—Kaneland High School has begun the search for a permanent principal to replace Dr. Gregory Fantozzi, the current interim principal who filled in when former principal Tony Valente resigned in June 2009 to accept a job at Hall High School in Spring Valley, Ill.
Fantozzi, who is the retired principal of Geneva High School, is limited to working part-time because of laws that prevent retired state employees who are receiving a pension from taking another full-time state job. Initially, Fantozzi was supposed to remain at Kaneland for only one year while the district searched for a new permanent principal, but he was kept on for two years because it was easier to have Fantozzi remain at Kaneland, Curriculum Coordinator Erika Schlichter said.
Fantozzi was the leader for the upcoming schedule change, gathering the most data about the schedule switch. He took a leading role in the building immediately, whereas training a new principal to acquire the amount of information he knew would have been much too difficult, Schlichter said.
Schlichter, who is coordinating the search for the new principal with Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler, began the search in November, setting a timeline and structure for the hiring process, writing a job description and presenting the job posting to the School Board for approval.
The position was posted at the beginning of December, and both external and internal applicants can apply through the beginning of January. Schlichter said the district hopes to be interviewing by February, in a process which will include faculty, parent and student input.
“I personally would want a strong leader, (someone who is) a good speaker and physically fit, and a principal that is involved with our school,” freshman Gary Koerhing said.
Senior Thomas Whittaker said that the new principal should listen to what the student body has to say and relate to the students more.
Other students said that the district should look for a principal who is a good speaker, involved with the school, listens to students and is dedicated.
“I think the principal of Kaneland should have a good sense of humor, along with good values,” freshman Nathaniel Kucera said.
Schlichter said one of the district’s top priorities is finding a principal whose educational philosophy matches Kaneland’s and who can help support the high school’s college readiness, which is measured by ACT scores and has been the focus of a four-year School Improvement Plan.
“We need to make sure the person has the right skills to support our learning community,” Schlichter said.
Schuler will recommend the selected candidate to the Board of Education, which will either approve the choice or direct the administration to continue on the search for another option.
The new principal would start in July 2011.