As expected, last week the Lyons School District 103 Board of Education hired Patrick Patt and Robert Madonia to be co-interim superintendents for the 2018-19 school year, replacing Carol Baker who has resigned, effective Aug 1, to become an assistant superintendent for Hinsdale High School District 86.
Patt has served twice before as interim superintendent for District 103, for about six months in 2006 and for about two weeks in 2015 before he resigned in the face of a move by a new school board majority, elected with the support of Lyons Village President Christopher Getty, to oust him and fellow interim superintendent Griff Powell.
At a special meeting on July 19, the school board voted 4 to 1 to hire Patt and Madonia for the coming school year. Jorge Torres, the only Getty-backed member of the school board to attend the meeting, cast the only “no” vote.
Torres declined to comment after the meeting when asked why he voted against hiring Patt and Madonia.
The other board members present at the meeting were happy to comment, though.
School board President Marge Hubacek, who worked for Patt when she was the superintendent’s secretary in 2006 and in 2015, said she values the nearly 50 years of combined experience as superintendent that Patt and Madonia bring to the job.
“They’re in it for all the right reasons,” Hubacek said. “I’m confident it’s going to be a good year.”
Board member Sharon Anderson was also hopeful that the district would make strides this year under Patt and Madonia.
“I think the interim superintendents are going to do an amazing job for our district,” Anderson said. “I think they’re going to help us move forward in a way we haven’t quite moved forward in the last two or three years.”
Anderson said that Patt made a very good impression on district staff in 2015 when he briefly served with Powell.
“The whole staff fell in love with them,” Anderson said. “It was a shame that they had to go. In those few weeks they made such an impact on our staff.”
After being forced out of District 103, Patt and Powell served for a year as co-interim superintendents at Riverside Elementary School District 96. Powell already is working as an interim superintendent in another district and was not available.
Patt served as a full-time superintendent for 22 years, including 18 years at a small one school district, Oak Grove District 68, near Libertyville.
The affable Patt said that he is happy to return to District 103.
“Schools are about the education of children, not politics,” Patt said.
Madonia has served as a full-time superintendent for 23 years, including 16 years at Komarek School District 94 in North Riverside, before retiring in 2009 as the superintendent in Frankfort School District 157C. In 2012, Madonia served as an interim superintendent for five months at Lemont-Bromberek School District 113A.
Madonia has also worked with many school districts on strategic plans, and worked with the District 103 school board earlier this year developing board goals. Achieving those goals will be one his goals for the coming year.
“I love being a superintendent and after 23 years of doing it love being back in the seat again and feeling the positive effects on kids,” Madonia said.
Since both Patt and Madonia are receiving pensions from the Illinois Teacher Retirement System they can work no more than 120 days a year and still receive their pension.
The plan is for Patt to work 120 days and Madonia to work for 80 days over the next 11 months. Patt will probably work roughly three days a week and Madonia two days a week, although their precise schedule has yet to be worked out.
Patt and Madonia will be paid $900 a day, a significant increase from the $750 a day Patt earned when he was an interim superintendent for District 96.
The District 103 school board will undertake a search over the next school year to hire a full-time superintendent to start next July.
Baker said that she is leaving District 103 with mixed emotions.
“I’m excited for this next opportunity, sad to leave a lot of great people I’ve worked with,” Baker said. “Things are really on a positive note now. I’m excited for the future of this school district and I wish them the best.”