SD 135 hires interim supt.
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com June 13, 2012 9:18PM
Updated: July 15, 2012 3:23PM
The way Carol Kunst sees it, she will be getting a year’s experience at a job with a title she hopes to erase the word “interim” from.
Kunst, the Burbank School District 111 superintendent, is to start her new job as Orland School District 135’s interim superintendent on July 2. The board approved her hiring Monday.
Kunst had hoped to get a permanent position when she interviewed for the job recently, but is happy to have the opportunity, even if “interim” means she only has one guaranteed year at the helm.
“The district is very professional in its approach to education. They’ve done a lot of wonderful things there, and I want to be part of it,” Kunst said Wednesday.
Kunst is moving from a district with 3,200 students at eight schools to one with 5,400 students at seven elementary schools and three junior highs.
“I’m up for the challenge,” she said.
Orland officials had hoped to hire a permanent superintendent but grew frustrated with their search and decided none of the applicants merited such a commitment. Board member Joseph La Margo said in May that the board wanted to be unified in its choice and “we didn’t want to rush into a decision that not everyone felt 100 percent comfortable with,” he said.
That’s OK with Kunst, who plans to apply for the permanent job again.
“I’m not offended at all. I can respect that because they made a promise and a commitment to the community to find the best superintendent,” she said, noting that being the interim choice gives her “an opportunity to develop a familiarity with the district.”
She plans to meet Thursday with the principals and current Supt. Dennis Soustek, who came out of retirement to temporarily handle the job earlier this year.
Soustek endorsed Kunst in a news release, saying “this district will be very well served by Dr. Kunst.”
Kunst said she will develop a “transition plan” that will “utilize resources effectively and efficiently.”
In District 111 she said, she reversed a $1.5 million budget deficit into a $1.5 million surplus.
“We sat down as a team and looked at how we did things and how we could do them differently. We looked at how we utilized the resources. We did release some staff members, and there were difficult decisions to make,” Kunst said.
Kunst lives in Hickory Hills with her husband and two children. She formerly was superintendent of Thornton School District 154 and worked in several other Chicago area-school districts over 30-plus years.