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Highlights of the August 27 Board of Education Meeting

First Day Update

Lynn Barkley, Director of Human Resources, reported that the first day of school (August 22) was an amazing day. She said that the buildings and the grounds looked great and the teachers were amazing with what they did with their classrooms to welcome students. She said it looks like the schools have very happy kids. Everyone is excited about the school year. The interim superintendents also spoke about their visit to the schools on opening day. They said the schools were so well organized that it looked like they had been in session for several weeks already.

HEA Contract Approval

Board President Sonali Patil reported that the Hawthorn Education Association contract ratification vote passed on Monday, August 27. She thanked the HEA negotiating team members for their hard work and for the many hours they spent away from their families. She also thanked Human Resources Director Lynn Barkley and Director of Finance and Business Operations Abe Singh for the enormous amount of work they put in. The tentative bargaining agreement was unanimously approved by the board.

Board Member Resignation

Ms. Patil announced that Jeffrey Bard, a school board member for more than 11 years, is resigning. His term would have been up in April of 2019. She thanked Mr. Bard on behalf of the board and the community for all his years of hard work in moving the district forward. Jayson Tran also thanked Mr. Bard for his constant advocacy on behalf of students, tax payers, and district employees, and said he will miss his insights and deep analysis.

Mr. Bard thanked Ms. Patil and the board members for their comments. He also thanked the administrative team, teachers, principals and educational support staff for their dedication in preparing students for success in the world. He said that the district couldn’t provide the high level of education that it does without them. He said it has been his honor to serve on the board and the board will always have his support to make things better.

Interim Superintendent Mark Friedman spoke about the process to fill the board vacancy.  He said the district has 45 days to appoint a new board member. An application for a seat on the board will be posted on Hawthorn’s website on August 28.  Those interested will have until September 11 to submit an application. The board will review applications and interview candidates. Ms. Patil added that the board plans to interview candidates between September 12 and Sept. 17.  The new board member will serve through the end of Mr. Bard’s term.  He or she will need to run in the April 2019 election to continue to serve on the board.

Superintendent Search

Dr. Friedman discussed the next steps involved in the search for a new superintendent. He said that a community engagement day has been scheduled on September 24.  On this day, several consultants will meet with different Hawthorn groups, including with the administrative team, teachers, staff and representatives of other governmental agencies with the goal to learn what characteristics they would like to see in a new superintendent. The community will be invited to provide their input during an evening session on the same day. Based on input, a profile of the ideal person to serve as superintendent will be created, and the consultants will work to find a match.

Dr. Friedman said that about 17 people have already applied for the position. He added that candidates applying at such an early date is a good sign.