Neil Pellicci

Neil Pellicci, the longtime superintendent of Komarek School District 94, will retire one year from now, prompting the District 94 school board to begin its search for his successor.

Pellicci, 59, said that it is time for him to retire after spending his entire adult life in education, including the last 27 years at Komarek School. He served as the principal at Komarek for 15 years and is now completing his 12th year as superintendent. Pellicci will retire on June 30, 2015.

The new pension reform bill, which caps maximum allowable earnings for state pension purposes, also played into Pellicci’s decision to retire after the 2014-15 school year.

“The state really has left me no choice,” Pellicci said. “With the change is the retirement laws, I can’t really extend my contract beyond where I am. I’m going to be 60 years old, and I’ve put in 39 years. 

“It’s time for the district to look for somebody [new] and it’s time for me to retire.”

Last week the District 94 Board of Education interviewed two search firms, the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) and BWP and Associates.

The IASB is a non-profit association that represents and provides services to school boards and has an arm that conducts superintendent searches. BWP is a large Libertyville-based search firm that specializes in education and works for school districts around the nation. BWP has conducted searches for many districts in Illinois, including Brookfield-LaGrange District 102.

After interviewing the two firms, the school board could not decide between the two and decided to check references and dig a little deeper. 

“It seemed like they were both capable of doing it and had a lot of experience doing it,” said Chris Waas, the president of the Komarek Board of Education. “They seemed pretty even.”

The school board is expected to pick a search firm at its July 8 meeting.

Replacing Pellicci will not be easy.

“As a board member it was always a comfort having somebody that who kind of knew the school and knew all the ins and outs and had a lot of experience,” Waas said. “It’s going to be kind of hard to replace him.”

Pellicci’s base salary for the 2013-14 school year was $162,847. The district also paid his $16,895 pension contribution to the Teachers Retirement System.

District 94 operates one school — the K through 8 Komarek School — which has a student population of about 515. The district’s boundaries include North Riverside west of First Avenue and residences in Broadview south of 19th Street.

Komarek School is one of the three elementary school feeder districts for Riverside-Brookfield High School.