Eight-person committee formed to search for Webb’s successor as superintendent

superintendent search committee

Pictured from left are, top row, Sayeed Ali, Shelley Arns, Kim Wert and Jody Steinke; bottom row, Jess Thorsen, Kim Dinkheller, Hal Oakley and George Meyer. | Submitted photos

QUINCY — An eight-person committee has been formed to search for Roy Webb’s replacement as the superintendent of the Quincy School District, and the deadline for candidates to apply is Nov. 5.

Sayeed Ali, president of the Quincy School Board, returns to the committee. He was part of a seven-person committee in 2015 that eventually selected Webb, who had been the superintendent for 6 1/2 years at Canton (Ill.) Union School District 66. Webb announced on Oct. 1 his plans to retire at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

Also returning to the committee is Shelly Arns, vice president of the School Board. She taught sixth grade for the Quincy Public Schools from 2005-13 and now is the office manager in her family’s business, W.C. Holzgrafe Construction Co. She was named to the School Board in 2018.

George Meyer, who spent 34 years with the Quincy Public Schools, is back on the committee as well. He was the assistant superintendent with the district from 1980-93 and served as the superintendent from 1993-97 before retiring.

Ali: ‘We feel pretty good about (committee)’

Joining the committee for the first time are:

  • Jody Steinke, principal at Quincy High School since 2017 and a district employee since 1994;
  • Jess Thorsen, a fifth-grade teacher at Iles Elementary School who has taught in the district for 10 years;
  • Kim Dinkheller, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment and a district employee for 21 years;
  • Kim Wert, secretary to the School Board and the superintendent since June; 
  • Hal Oakley, chairman at Schmiedeskamp Robertson Neu and Mitchell, where he has been a partner for 25 years.

The committee met last week for the first time.

“It’s a pretty veteran group of people who have a vested interest in not only how QPS does and the district and the community,” Ali said. “We feel pretty good about it.”

Ali said Webb will not be a part of the hiring process.

“I think (the School Board) probably wouldn’t be in favor of that, and I don’t know if he would be either,” Ali said. “(Hiring a superintendent is) an important function of the board. The communication Roy will have with the superintendent coming in obviously will be vital. There’s a lot of great processes and systems we have in place because of Roy. Superintendents applying for the position will be very curious on things Roy thought worked well and maybe didn’t work so well.”

Ali hopes to finish process ‘by early next year’

Ali said he believes interviews will begin with the top candidates after Thanksgiving.

“Then, after Christmas break, we’ll be getting down to it as far as choosing who the next superintendent will be,” he said. “Ideally, we’re trying to have this process completed by early next year so there is a little bit of over overlap (with Webb’s final months) for that communication and transition.”

The committee formed in 2015 did not use a national search firm to assist with finding candidates. Twenty people applied to replace Steve Cobb as superintendent.

This year’s committee won’t use a national search firm, either.

“They’re good for certain industries, but with a community leader and a district leader like a superintendent position, we’re doing it the same way we did last time,” Ali said. “We wanted to have it posted through the regular channels and then kind of see what that looks like as far as the applicants … rather than have a third party trying to convince someone to come to Quincy.”

A job description and a list of qualifications is available on the school district’s website. 

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