Ptacek picked as next 117 superintendent
Two separate searches and two interim superintendents later, the District 117 Board of Education ended a nearly year-long administrative search tonight.
The board announced Steve Ptacek will be the district’s new superintendent at a special meeting. He was one of two finalists along with Dr. Roger Scott, the principal at Huntley Middle School in DeKalb. Ptacek is the superintendent for Joppa Maple-Grove District near Metropolis.
Scott and Ptacek held question-and-answer sessions with the public last month as part of their final interview process. District 117 school board president Mindy Olson says that played a factor in the decision.
“It was very beneficial to the board to see the responses and the percentages of one candidate over the other, and the comments that were made by the public, by the administrators, by the teachers, staff, things like that,” she says. “We took those very seriously in evaluating which person we chose.”
What didn’t play a factor, according to Olson, was location- Ptacek is a downstate administrator, while Scott served in the Chicago region.
Ptacek says his main initial task upon starting next summer will be to develop positive relationships with the District 117 community.
“The system that I want to approach is that I need to help define our areas of pride and our areas of concern. Schools are going to function at their maximum capacity when they’re based on positive relations, focused on a shared mission and directed towards common goals and objectives,” states Ptacek.
“The only thing that I have stated that I am very interested in adding into the curriculum for Jacksonville Public Schools is an Advanced Placement curriculum at the high school. Other than that, I do not have any specific goals plans or agenda items at the time.”
The board executed a multi-year, performance-based contract that extends for three consecutive years, with a one-year renewal option after completion of the first three years.
Ptacek is married with two children, and he says he’s looking for a hometown community for his family.
“Tracy and I are very excited about moving to Jacksonville. We’re thrilled to be able to provide a hometown for our boys in such a wonderful community,” says Ptacek.
“I grew up a military brat. My dad was in the Air Force, and we moved around until I was in the fourth grade. In the fourth grade, I started in Lebanon. We moved to Lebanon, and I graduated from the Lebanon school system. I consider Lebanon my hometown, and it’s great to have a hometown. I want to provide that for my boys,” he adds.
Ptacek’s base salary is fixed at $140,000 per year over the entire course of the contract, which is $22,000 less than the district’s previous permanent superintendent. That’s a considerable savings according to Olson, who adds that the new superintendent was flexible on salary.
“There will be no salary increases over the next four years. And he actually was the one who made the suggestion to us, that he is in essence freezing his salary for four years,” Olson says.
“I think that shows something about his character and his desire to become part of this community, desire to become part of this school district, and really see it grow, understanding that there’s financial constraints coming up, and him taking the first step in addressing some of those financial constraints,” she continues.
Ptacek will assume the position on July 1st, 2013. Source