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Former administrator to make comeback as D135 superintendent

          Page 3 Dist 135 supt story DJ Skogsberg

                      Skogsberg

          

When Dr. D.J. Skogsberg begins his new role as superintendent of Orland School District 135 on July 1, he will already be a familiar face to many people in the district.

          Skogsberg earlier this month accepted a three-year contract to lead the district that he served as assistant director of curriculum from 2010 to 2012.

School board President Laura Berry was his boss, the director of curriculum at the time, and she was the one who called him to see if he was interested in coming back.

Berry retired in 2012, the same year that Skogsberg, who lives in Plainfield, left District 135 for his current position as superintendent of Taft School District 90 in Lockport. It is one-school district with about 350 students from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Skogsberg, 41, said it was “humbling” that the school board reached out and asked him to consider returning to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Dr. Janet Stutz. Her three-year contract ends June 30.

District 135 is much bigger than the Lockport district, encompassing 10 schools in Orland Park, and about 5,000 students, including four primary schools, three intermediates, and three junior high schools.

          “It’s bittersweet, because I have made such a strong connection with here at Taft with the parents, students and staff,” he said in an interview with The Regional News last week. “But I am looking forward to rekindling old acquaintances.”

          When the D135 board accepted Stutz’s resignation on Jan. 11, the board issued a short statement accepting her resignation “with deep regret.”

The statement went on to say that Stutz “played an integral part in rebuilding the relationship between the administration and the union, as well as between the district and the community.”

          Skogsberg will be the district’s fifth superintendent in seven years.

Stutz followed three superintendents, two of whom were interim, who each lasted only a year.

In addition to the hiring of several new principals and administrator during her tenure as superintendent, Stutz also oversaw the rollout of the district’s new policy of providing take-home computers to every student in third through eighth grades.

New teacher and principal assessment systems were also introduced.

Skogsberg’s contract calls for a salary of $182,500 in his first year, while Stutz, 52, is making $185,650 in the final year of her contract.

At least one parent praised Stutz at the Feb. 8 meeting, and asked why the board hired Skogsberg so quickly, rather than doing a more extensive search.

        When that question was posed to Berry on Tuesday, she said, “We really wanted someone who was familiar with the district and who could ‘hit the ground running’ so to speak and had experience in the superintendent seat. Several board members were familiar with his work both in the district and the area.”

“To go to a full search would entail expense as well as time,” the board president added. 

“As it stands right now, I am in the beginning stages of transitioning into the new superintendent position,” said Skogsberg.

“I want to honor all of the great work that was done by the previous superintendents, and maintain the vision for the district that the board has,” he said.

“They have a multi-year plan that I am becoming familiar with,” he continued. “We’re definitely going to hit the ground running on July 1.”

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