Search for new superintendent starts

Local News

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The Urbana School District is facing what could be a long process to find a permanent superintendent.

As WCIA has reported, three of the district’s top administrators were replaced last month. One of them was superintendent at the time, Don Owen.

On Tuesday night, the board came up with a strategy to hire someone else. Interim Superintendent Preston Williams suggested going through a professional executive search firm to help them find the best candidate. The board members agreed with that plan.

It was the first night the entire board came together to discuss what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate. Williams says, because it could take a while to find the right person, the hiring process could go past June of next year. 

The board didn’t go into specific details on who they’re looking for, but they did say they want someone who will align with their restorative justice plan. At the meeting they stressed how critical this decision is. 

Parents showed up to share how they want to be involved in the entire process of finding a replacement. The board agreed on the importance of community input when it comes to the job description and profile of the idea candidate. 

The district hasn’t released a specific reason or explanation behind this administration overhaul. But the board did release a statement on their website tonight saying “Employees are entitled to privacy until they have received all process due to them under the law.” 

The changes are coming shortly after the district restructured its disciplinary system this year by getting rid of six dean positions and moving them to faculty. 

The board doesn’t have a deadline set to hire a new superintendent. 

In the board’s statement, they said all three administrators who were replaced are still district employees and on paid leave. Again, that includes Don Owen, assistant superintendent Kathy Barbour, and assistant superintendent Samuel Byndom. He’s accused of eavesdropping by using a voice recording pen to spy on a closed school board meeting. He was placed on leave before charges were filed. 

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