Reaction to the announcement Thursday that Rockford Superintedent LaVonne Sheffield will leave the district at the end of the month:
Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen to reporter Kevin Haas: “We’ve got a difficult road here both financially and with graduation rates. There’s not such a thing as a superintendent that’s going to be able to come in here and take care of it on her own. We have to get our arms around this as a community.”
Rockford Mayer Larry Morrissey to reporter Corina Curry: “The friction was developing over quite a long time. We have an opportunity now to forge a new path. The elections Tuesday were a pretty clear indication that the new board members want to be open and transparent and reach out to community partners.”
From Senior Editor Chuck Sweeny’s blog:
The pending departure of LaVonne Sheffield as Rockford school superintendent, just two years into her four year contract, should come as no surprise to anyone. Rockford has had five superintendents in 10 years, so by our standards, her time was up. Sheffield’s exit is the other shoe to drop after Tuesday’s School Board election, in which the mercurial and abrasive school chief lost any hopes of a supportive majority on the new board that will take office later this month.
From LaVonne Sheffield’s letter to the School District:
I was hired as superintendent of Rockford Public Schools to be a change agent, and I’m proud of the change I’ve achieved. We have shifted the course of things and begun to make a difference, but we have not yet transformed into a world-class education system. We have not yet made Rockford schools the schools of first choice.
Statement from the Rockford School Board president, David Kelley:
“The Board would like to thank Dr. Sheffield for her dedication and excellent work for the School District Under Dr. Sheffield’s leadership, the District implemented many changes that will benefit the students in the District for years to come. The Board wishes Dr. Sheffield the best in her future endeavors.”
From reporter Cathy Bayer’s story, a Print Exclusive in today’s newspaper:
The district must pay Sheffield six months of her salary and benefits, said outgoing School Board member Alice Saudargas. “I think we’re getting off pretty easy.”
From reporter Jeff Kolkey’s blog. Jeff and a photographer tried to talk to Sheffield Thursday afternoon:
Although an interview in the parking lot is less than an ideal situation, it may have been our only hope of speaking with her today. We unsuccessfully did our best to get a few comments. Sheffield declined to talk as she appeared in the parking lot seemingly from thin air (there must be a tunnel under the Madison Street parking lot which at one time was a high school).