Talent is within, national search not needed for new RPS 205 superintendent

On August 28, the Rockford Board of Education will discuss the process they will follow to select our next Superintendent of Schools. I hope it’s a short and to the point discussion that ends with a decision to look within District 205, foregoing a national search.

Desiring stability and believing that District 205 is quickly moving in the right direction, Next Rockford has approved a resolution calling on the Board of Education to narrow its search to the current leaders within the district. Dr. Willis has done a fine job of putting in place a team that can succeed him and continue the progress we are now seeing unfold.

We can’t afford the distraction of a national search or the potential that yet another out-of-town school administrator might come in and upset the apple cart. Too much progress has been made to take that backward step.

Next Rockford is supportive of the district’s five-point strategic plan, known as the Readiness Rocks. The board of education approved the plan and should see to it that its next leader is committed to executing the plan. Where better to find that leader than from the pool of folks that helped shape the plan?

Since our founding in 2003, Next Rockford has worked to improve public education in Rockford. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results that this team – led by Dr. Willis and his deputies Matt Vosberg and Ehren Jarrett – are producing; including an extended school day, reinvigorated arts and sports programs, redesign of our high schools in to smaller learning academies and expansion of pre-school options, among other advancements.

At his address to the business community last week, Mayor Morrissey noted, “When it comes to leadership in our public schools currently, I’ve got to tell you I’m very, very pleased with the work… we’ve had the most consistent, positive leadership at Rockford Public Schools that I’ve been around since I was elected in 2005. I hope we can draw up on our local resources and the leadership that’s there right now to keep things moving forward.”

We couldn’t agree more, Mayor.

The team that is in place, comprised of capable and committed, born-and-raised-Rockfordians is the team that should lead the district and our community into the future. Anything else would be a misguided mistake. As we have for the past decade, Next Rockford looks forward to partnering with District 205 in the future. Preferably, in the next decade the district will be led by its current crop of leaders.




  1. Denny Johnson

    totally agree……. the next Superintendent of 205 should be from a pool of Rockford administrators. We have great “home-grown” leadership here. NO national search is needed to find the best talent.

  2. left coast

    Vosberg has gotta be the guy. He is public school–through and through; having attended RPS from K through his graduation from West H.S. He taught in the district and was an administrator at Guilford for a number of years before taking the Principal job at South Beloit H.S. wherein he won national recognition for that school’s significant success under his leadership. The guy bleeds RPS and he won’t leave his lifelong home to jump to another job in the suburbs or the coasts. Smart, practical, and a no nonsense problem solver, Vosberg is a consensus builder who gets things done.

  3. A reader

    Re: “The team that is in place, comprised of capable and committed, born-and-raised-Rockfordians is the team that should lead the district and our community into the future. Anything else would be a misguided mistake.”

    If you are a public school district — and an equal opportunity employer, complying with the federal equal opportunity laws — then it seems to me you would at minimum place an advertisement for the superintendent job on your website, so that anyone qualified can apply, even if later rejected for the job. A national search may not be needed, but it seems to me your district policies would require advertising the job.

    Otherwise, you might be excluding people who live in Rockford now and were formerly employed as superintendent, like Dennis Thompson. Of course, he did not have an application on file in Naples, FL in Collier County, and was not renewed, and he may not actually have a superintendent certificate in Illinois, but why not give him an opportunity anyway? Then you can open the file and find out if he also pulled the wool over your eyes in Rockford, as he did in Collier.

    Here he is on You Tube, admitting he had no application on file in Collier, and the Naples Daily News trying to cover up that fact: