Longtime Lyons Township High School District 204 board President Mark Pera announced Monday that he is resigning his post, effective June 17, because he and his wife are moving out of the district.
Pera, a member of the board (except for a two-year period in the 1990s) since 1993, has been the D204 board president since 2001.
“I’ve loved it to death, but you’ve got to move on as well,” said Pera. “I’m very excited, but it was with a touch of sadness that I submitted my letter.”
Dr. John Polacek, the board vice president, will serve as president pro-tem until the board determines who to name as president.
“In my 25 years on the board we’ve never had this happen,” said Polacek. “We’ll have a discussion on it and then the board will vote.”
Polacek said he knew Pera’s announcement was coming for the past six months, but that he’s still sorry to see the longtime board president leaving.
“It’s always difficult when you’re changing people on a board that is so collaborative and as steady as our board is,’ said Polacek. “But, we have a pretty sharp group.”
The school board has 45 days to appoint a replacement on the board for Pera, who was re-elected in April 2013. His replacement will serve until spring 2015, when Pera’s two-year unexpired term will be up for election.
Polacek said the school board is accepting letters of application for the position. The school board will screen the applicants and interview finalists for the job before voting to appoint someone to the board this summer.
“We’ll have someone in place by the start of school,” said Polacek.
LTHS Superintendent Timothy Kilrea called Pera “one of a kind” and an “outstanding” board member.
“Mark has been an outstanding board member, a great steward of taxpayer dollars, and he has consistently focused on kids,” said Kilrea, who has worked alongside Pera for the past years, first as the district’s human resources director and more recently as superintendent.
Pera said with his kids grown, he and his wife were looking to downsize from their home in Western Springs. And while they will be doing just that, they’re not exactly heading out to the country.
They’re moving to the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, better known for hipsters than retired school board presidents. Pera works as an assistant state’s attorney for Cook County.
In 2008, he ran in the Democratic primary as a candidate for the 3rd Congressional District but was defeated by Daniel Lipinski, who retains that seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.