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H-F board extends supt’s contract on 4-3 vote

Homewood-Flossmoor High School Superintendent Von Mansfield’s contract was extended to June 2022 on a 4-3 vote at the District 233 board meeting Dec. 17.

Homewood-Flossmoor High School Superintendent Von Mansfield’s contract was extended to June 2022 on a 4-3 vote at the District 233 board meeting Dec. 17.
  H-F High School
  Superintendent Von


It could be his last contract with the district he’s served since 2001 — first as principal before moving to the superintendent’s job in 2008. Mansfield said he could take retirement in 2022 but said he hasn’t made a final decision.

Board members Steve Anderson, Debbie Berman, Gerald Pauling and Nathan Legardy agreed to extend the contract. Voting “no” were members Beth Larocca, Annette Bannon and Pamela Jackson.
In approving the contract, the board said it would expect Mansfield to work through a major transition in the district “in a thoughtful and strategic way.”
Anderson told the Chronicle the board spent “multiple months” in negotiations on the extension and that “the meat of the work has been done over the past three months.” Mansfield’s current contract expires in June 2020.
Anderson said the board is looking at several major retirements, including Nancy Spaniak, director of curriculum and faculty development, who is retiring in June; Tom Wagner, operations director, and Gary Posing, technology director, who are retiring in June 2021; and a number of faculty.  
The board this year hired Lawrence Cook, former associate principal, as the business manager, and it is conducting a search now for an athletic director.
Anderson said the board is aware that Mansfield has filed for retirement, which will also be a major transition for the district.
Although Mansfield told the Chronicle that he hasn’t made a final decision on when he’ll retire, he said he notified the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) that he has reached a point where he is qualified to take a pension. 
He has two years left before he must notify TRS of his final decision. He does not want to say when that will be. 
“I could retire at any time. I’m not saying (when) because I’m not sure. In terms of moving forward, I thought that was a reasonable time to look at. For me, it’s never been a case of money. I could leave today or tomorrow if that’s what I felt I needed to do,” Manfield said.
The board’s decision “maybe gave me pause, unfortunately, but still we have a lot of good things going on,” Mansfield added.
Board members were asked by email to explain their votes on the contract extension. Bannon, Larocca and Jackson all responded that they did not agree with the length of the contract. Larocca and Jackson were asked to clarify what would be an appropriate contract length, but did not respond.
“There’s nothing hostile about a two-year contract,” Legardy said. “Having that institutional knowledge when going through leadership changes we thought would be beneficial. That’s why I voted for two years.”
Berman, Anderson, Pauling and Legardy all said they felt Mansfield is the best person to move H-F through this transition period.
“Dr. Mansfield is a proven leader who is best suited to lead the school through those transitions,” Berman said. “Under Dr. Mansfield’s new contract, and specifically in the goals that will be part of that contract, he will be responsible for helping develop and presenting to the board a succession plan for the superintendent’s position as well as for the other senior administrator positions.”
Pauling said: “Given his professional network and reputation, and his knowledge of our district, Dr. Mansfield is better positioned than anyone to help the district identify, evaluate and orientate the next superintendent and the other administrators who will take on leadership roles in the very near future.
“The lack of support demonstrated by board members not supporting its superintendent sends the wrong message to our administrative team, to administrators who might be considering our district, and to many members of our community,” Pauling said. “After more than two decades of service to the district, Dr. Mansfield deserves better than to be hastily ushered out of his position.”
Legardy said he is concerned that any future candidates for district positions, especially the superintendent’s job, will look at the dissension and what kind of board they’re going to work with. 

“It’s a bad signal to the market place. That’s why it was kind of a shock because those are all factors we (as a board) talked about,” he explained.

“It’s much bigger than Dr. Mansfield,” Legardy said. “A new superintendent is going to be an eminent issue. We have to talk about how we move forward from this without dissent,” adding, “We all have one vote.”

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