Tag: Mark Holder

Bellwood D88 Hires New Superintendent

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews || Updated: 9:07 p.m.

Featured image: Mark Holder, who was recently appointed as the permanent superintendent at Bellwood District 88. | sd88.org 

During a regular meeting on Nov. 6, the Bellwood School District 88 Board of Education voted unanimously to appoint Mark Holder as permanent superintendent.

Holder, 61, had been serving as interim superintendent since May, when he replaced former superintendent Rosemary Hendricks. The board approved a 4-year, $182,000 contract for Holder, according to district officials.

Continue reading “Bellwood D88 Hires New Superintendent”

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Bellwood District 88 Does a 180

Thursday, August 24, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Nowadays, the climate at Bellwood School District 88 board meetings is a lot more placid than just a year ago — when they were policed by armed, bulletproof vest-wearing security guards hired by former D88 Supt. Rosemary Hendricks.

Continue reading “Bellwood District 88 Does a 180”

D88 Board Fires HR Director Who Worked Two Jobs, Approves Contract for Interim Supt.

BSD88_logo2015Wednesday, June 7, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Last month, the newly configured Bellwood District 88 school board voted 6 to 1 to place Supt. Rosemary Hendricks on paid administrative leave “pending investigation.” Former board president Marilyn Thurmond was the only dissenting vote.

This month, the district’s human resources director, Dr. Kisha McCaskill, got the axe. In addition to her HR job McCaskill had also held down a full-time job as executive director of the Harvey Park District. Her husband, Anthony McCaskill, was the park district board president.

McCaskill is also a member of the Harvey School District 152 school board. As with the Hendricks vote, Thurmond was the only member to vote against McCaskill’s termination. Board member Annie Copeland wasn’t present for the vote.

McCaskill is just the latest casualty of April’s election, when reform candidates Maria Perez, Deborah Giles and Dorothy Clark-Smith won seats to the 7-person school board and upset a board majority that was largely responsible for keeping Hendricks, and the many apparent patronage hires and contracts she and Thurmond oversaw, in place.

Perez, Giles and Clark-Smith have joined with new board president Sondra McClendon — a vocal opponent of Thurmond and Hendricks — in slowly reinstating defunct board policies, terminating employees with apparent conflicts of interest or whose jobs seem to be due to relationships with top administrators — all issues that the three new board members ran on. The district didn’t cite any specific reason for McCaskill’s termination, since it’s a personnel matter.

According to a D88 official, the district has found a temporary replacement for McCaskill but that person hasn’t been formally introduced. The official also said that the Hendricks investigation is ongoing.

In addition to terminating McCaskill, the school board also voted unanimously to authorize a contract for Interim Superintendent Mark Holder, who was instated last month after Hendricks was placed on leave.

This is the third time that Hendricks has exited the district. According to a Cook County Chronicle report, Hendricks has “revolved in and out of the district three times in 10 years, as nine superintendents came and went in 15 years.

“She was first hired in 2007, then resigned with a $75,000 settlement. Hendricks was rehired by the board in 2010, but then fired for misconduct two years later and sued the district, which later settled for $45,000.  Hendricks was brought back as an interim, but then the board bypassed a search and awarded a two-year, $170,000 contract to Hendricks, as parents complained.”

Along with personnel changes, the D88 board, at McClendon’s urging, also reinstated monthly committee meetings that had been discontinued under Thurmond.

“Those meetings were important because a lot of questions we had about bills and other matters could get answered during those meetings,” McClendon said.

The board president added that the committee meetings, which would include all board members, would be dedicated to detailed discussion on action items that would be up for votes at the regular meetings. McClendon said that this would cut short the length of those regular meetings.

The meeting change will start in July, when the board is expected to begin discussion of possibly approving a travel expense control resolution. VFP

Breaking: Bellwood D88 Supt. Put on Paid Administrative Leave

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Bellwood D88 Supt. Rosemary Hendricks, who was placed on paid administrative leave on May 8. | Screenshot of the district’s website, SD88.org 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

During a brief May 8 special meeting, the Bellwood District 88 school board voted 6 to 1 to place D88 Supt. Rosemary Hendricks on paid administrative leave “pending investigation.” Former board president Marilyn Thurmond was the sole dissenting vote.

The board had discussed the pending investigation in executive session before reconvening the meeting.

In addition, the board voted 5 to 2 to appoint Mark Holder, the principal at Roosevelt Middle School, as interim superintendent. Board members Thurmond and Annie Copeland were the two dissenting votes.

The board adjourned the meeting shortly after the votes.

This development had been anticipated by many in the district after new board members Deborah Giles, Maria Perez and Dorothy Clark-Smith, all members of the Bellwood Education Dream Team slate, won seats on the school board.

The new members were all vocal opponents of the policies and practices put in place under Thurmond and Hendricks, whose leave comes two years after she was hired for a third time in 2014-15 school year. VFP

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