Crystal Lake’s District 155 names Cary-Grove principal its next superintendent; 3-year contract pays $198,621 annual salary

Cary-Grove High School’s principal was named the next superintendent of Crystal Lake’s District 155 during a special board meeting on Wednesday, the district announced.

Following a national search, Neil Lesinski was tapped to replace retiring Superintendent Steve Olson starting July 1, the district said in a statement posted to its website. District officials approved a three-year contract, paying Lesinski an annual salary of $198,621 through June 30, 2026, the district said. The move makes Lesinski the district’s 14th superintendent.

“Dr. Lesinski proved throughout this process and throughout his leadership as principal at Cary-Grove High School, the importance of relationships and collaboration with students, staff, parents, and our communities,” Board of Education President Adam Guss said in the statement. “It’s evident that Dr. Lesinski will remain focused on students to foster their growth and personal aspirations.”

Lesinski was promoted to be Cary-Grove’s principal in 2017.

Neil Lesinski, new principal at Cary-Grove High School beginning in the 2017-18 school year.

Olson is finishing up his 38th year in the district, and was its 13th superintendent, according to the statement and his bio posted on the district’s website. He started with the district in 1985 as a social science teacher at Crystal Lake South High School and had been principal at Crystal Lake Central for 16 years before being named superintendent, according to his bio.

The district hired the Illinois Association of School Boards to help in its search, which attracted more than a dozen applicants. Lesinski was picked from among a total of six candidates who the board interviewed, and was among three finalists for the job, according to the statement.

Lesinski has a bachelor’s degree in English Education from Western Illinois University and a master’s in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Chicago. He also holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Aurora University, according to the statement.

“I look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts with students, staff, parents, and community partners in order to find new ways to help all of our students learn and grow,” Lesinski said in the statement.