District 90 Superintendent Marlene Kamm will retire at the end of this school year when her current contract expires. Kamm informed the Dist. 90 school board of her decision at last week’s board meeting.

“I really didn’t decide until the New Year,” said Kamm, who said her decision was based on wanting to be present during her only son’s last three years in high school. She said she’s most looking forward to watching her son compete in gymnastics.

“I’m applying for the next best job in the world that I’ve never been able to have-full-time mom,” Kamm said.

Kamm worked at five school districts prior to coming to River Forest in July, 2004. She leaves with 35 years of service, which qualifies her for a full pension. Her tenure at the school district saw the successful completion of a tax referendum campaign, and the continued success of the district’s education programs. The district currently ranks number one in the state, based on standardized test scores.

School Board President David Gregg said Kamm provided needed guidance to the board, particularly in financial matters related to the spring, 2005 tax referendum, and wished her well in her future endeavors.

School board member Kristin Coe, who is running for a second term on the board this April, also praised Kamm, saying, “I think we are losing someone with a great background in curriculum and instruction.”

The timing of Kamm’s departure is a bit problematic on at least two levels. With the school year more than half over and Kamm’s departure just five months away, it’s unlikely any permanent replacement can be found before the start of the new school year. Gregg was hesitant to predict exactly how any process would play out, but given the short timeframe, he wouldn’t rule out an interim superintendent.

In addition, Gregg and Board Vice President Nora Anzinger, both eight-year veterans, are leaving after the April 17 election. The board will then have to deal with absorbing two new board members while also dealing with a superintendent search process.

Coe said one of the first things she had to deal with upon election to the school board four years ago was the search for former superintendent Tyra Manning’s successor.

“We’ll have to hit the ground running,” said Coe of the new school board.

Gregg said he still wants the current board to take a deliberative approach to the search and selection process.

“I don’t see a reason to rush. We should do this right.”

What is most likely, Gregg said, is that the current school board will develop a plan for how to proceed with the search for Kamm’s replacement. The next board will then conduct that replacement search and the hiring process.

“I’d like the board to have a game plan in place within the next 30 days,” said Gregg.

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