On board 

D-11 hires interim superintendent amid instability

click to enlarge D-11 interim superintendent Terry Bishop.
  • D-11 interim superintendent Terry Bishop.

In the week since Terry Bishop was voted interim superintendent by District 11's conflicted school board, he has managed to please even the most disparate board members.

Bishop, who currently serves as the district's deputy superintendent and chief information officer, was approved for the interim position during a June 14 meeting, by a 7-0 vote.

Board vice president Tami Hasling and board member Eric Christen both have expressed their support for Bishop, who has pledged to meet with each board member separately to "understand where they are coming from."

Hasling and Christen were at odds over the June 1 firing of former Superintendent Sharon Thomas. The firing ended Thomas' one-year tenure in the position. Hasling supported Thomas, while Christen voted to oust her.

"I want Sharon," Hasling says, "but Terry is a great guy."

Christen claims that in the 40 hours after Bishop's appointment, he accomplished more for the district than Thomas did in the past year.

"I can't tell you how excited I am," he says.

Bishop will officially begin as interim superintendent on July 3. But his presence alone will not smooth the rifts that have characterized the D-11 school board, which still is dealing with the fallout from Thomas's firing.

Concerned citizens have launched a recall effort against Christen and board member Sandy Shakes.

"He is not the silver bullet in terms of the final cure for helping us move along," says board president John Gudvangen. "I am not going to pretend that this change of personality is the cure all."

At press time, the board had not yet voted on Bishop's contract, but Gudvangen anticipates that Bishop will spend at least one year as interim superintendent. Bishop has not ruled out the option of staying on as the permanent superintendent.

Gudvangen says that one year or more with Bishop will "give us the opportunity to work on the important relationship between students and teachers in schools rather than the politics surrounding the personality of who is in the superintendent's position."



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