McHenry High School District 156 superintendent to retire, candidate search underway

McHENRY – The McHenry Community High School District 156 Board will meet Tuesday with a superintendent search firm to review candidates as Superintendent Mike Roberts moves through his final school year before retiring.

In his third year serving as the head of the district, Roberts' official retirement date is June 30, 2016, when his contract expires, he said. The 58-year-old, whose current salary is $171,777, added that he gave years of notice that he would retire back when he was transitioning from his role as principal of McHenry High School West to superintendent in 2013.

The search for a new superintendent comes the same year of the district's first teacher strike in about three decades. Classes at District 156 have been back in session for about three weeks after an at-times contentious, seven-school-day teacher strike over salaries and benefits.

Earlier this year, the district hired a search firm to the tune of about $12,000 to help identify candidates to fill Roberts’ position, School Board President Steve Bellmore said. The board will meet with Libertyville-based BWP and Associates at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to go over guidelines for the interview process and to review candidates. The meeting will be held in closed session.

“[BWP] is going to have it narrowed down to six people,” Bellmore said, adding candidate interview dates have tentatively been set for Nov. 17 and 18, after which the search will be narrowed to two or three candidates. “Then we will set a date to interview finalists and come to a conclusion. I want to have this done by the first of the year.”

This marks Roberts’ 22nd year with District 156 after having previously served as a dean, assistant principal, and then principal, all at McHenry High School West. Before that, he taught, coached and served as an athletic director during his first 14 years in education.

With eight months still to go, he briefly reflected on his time with the district, saying returning as a high school dean was like coming home.

“This is my alma mater,” Roberts said. “I graduated from here in 1975.

“Very few people ever get to go back to their alma mater to teach and, through it all, I came back home to be a dean of students and served eight years as dean, then seven years as assistant principal, and then four years as principal. Through every step, I just felt honored to be in those positions.”