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Will County Board confirms Walsh appointment to schools post

Former Superintendent Schools Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant talks with man who will be replacing her as superintendent Shawn Walsh prior his

Former Superintendent of Schools, Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, talks with the man who will be replacing her as superintendent, Shawn Walsh, prior to his appointment ceremony at the Will County Board monthly meeting at the Will County Office Building in Joliet, Illinois, Thursday, February 21, 2013. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 23, 2013 6:31AM



Shawn Walsh is the new Will County regional superintendent of schools.

His appointment was confirmed Thursday by the Will County Board after he was nominated by his dad, Will County Executive Larry Walsh.

Shawn Walsh, 35, of Elwood, worked as assistant regional superintendent of schools for five years. The vacancy in the office was created in January when former Regional Superintendent Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, was elected to the state senate.

By law, a replacement must come from the same political party and the nomination must be made by the county executive.

Shawn Walsh, who was the only applicant, previously worked as a teacher at St. Mary Magdalene School and Hufford Junior High School and as a teacher and a dean at Washington Junior High School.

He has a master’s degree in educational leadership from Governors State University and a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from the University of St. Francis.

Shawn Walsh said he is looking forward to fulfilling the duties of the office, which oversees many regional school programs involving truancy, alternative learning, building inspections, bus driver training and criminal background checks. The office also administers GED tests and processes teacher certifications and registrations.

In 2011 the state did not fund salaries for regional superintendents and their assistants for five months. The state is consolidating offices to further reduce costs, Shawn Walsh said. The number will shrink from 44 to 35 after the next election cycle.

“So consolidation is already happening, but Will County has a large enough population we’re not going to be affected by that,” he said.

Walsh said he plans on running for election to the post in November 2014 and if successful he would begin a full term on July 1, 2015.

“In this position, if done right, you can help a lot of people,” he said.

Only one county board member, Margo McDermed, R-Mokena, voted against the appointment.

She said she was opposed to the appointment because Shawn Walsh is Larry Walsh’s son.

“Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do something,” she said.

No other board members voiced opposition to the appointment. Chuck Maher, R-Naperville, passed his vote. The rest of the board voted in favor of the appointment.



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