Putnam County Residents Say What They Want in Superintendent

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A small but vocal group of community member and parents met in the Putnam County High School auditorium Wednesday night to give their input into the search for a new superintendent of the Putnam County School District. The district will be replacing current superintendent Jay McCracken, who is retiring at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

The group discussion was facilitated by Thomas Leahy of Illinois Association of School Boards. The IASB is consulting with the PC school board in the search.

Leahy asked the group four main questions dealing with the unique qualities, as well as strengths and weaknesses, specific to the district, desired in the new superintendent.

“I have three kids, one at the elementary, one at the junior high and one at the high school,” said Paula Taylor of Granville. “Mr. McCracken has done an excellent job. I want the same standards in the position.”

The consensus of the group was that Putnam County offered a unique, close-knit community and a well-rounded school district with a focus on academics, athletics and the arts.

The parents also focused on the fact that Putnam County is a financial sound district, offering many services for the students.

“We’ve been very pleased with the services that they provided, and the fact that we are in the black,” said Beth Mack of Hennepin. “The combination of the two is very unique.”

They also want the new superintendent to demonstrate a high level of fiscal responsibility, a desire to enhance and expand opportunities for students in the district, and to work and communicate with community members and legislators for the district.

“Everyone is replaceable,” said Trent Griffith of Granville, “But we better be sure we get a fiscally responsible human being in his (McCracken’s) place that cares about the children the way he does.”

The group also praised the current staff and school board and highlighted the need for the superintendent to work with those groups to keep the high standards currently enjoyed by the students.


Leahy said a district and job description brochure will be put out to potential candidates in the next two to three weeks. The deadline for applications will be in late November or early December. Interviews will take place in the weeks following, and a new superintendent will be chosen by January or early February 2016.


The group in general believed the next superintendent would have big shoes to fill, coming in after the retiring McCracken.

McCracken has been the superintendent for eight years, after spending three years as an administrator at La Salle Elementary, four years as a coordinator of professional development at the regional office of education, and teaching school for more than 20 years in the Henry-Senachwine district.

During his time teaching, McCracken served as mayor of Henry and on the Marshall County Board.

McCracken has a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University, a master’s degree in education administration from Aurora University, and a superintendent’s endorsement from Western Illinois University.

After eight years as superintendent, McCracken says his biggest accomplishment has been helping students and families.

“Always, kids first,” McCracken said earlier this week.

Source: News Tribune