Brian Waterman

Despite being not quite halfway through his four-year contract, Lyons Township High School Superintendent Brian Waterman just had his contract extended for three more years by a unanimous vote of the LTHS school board at their April 17 meeting. 

As amended, Waterman’s contract will now run through the 2027-28 school year. 

“This contract is an indication of our confidence in you,” school board member Alison Kelly told Waterman during the April 17 school board meeting.

By extending Waterman’s deal through the 2027-28 school year, his contract is now the longest it can be, since Illinois law limits school superintendent contracts to no more than five years.

After the meeting, school board President Kari Dillon also praised Waterman.

“I think he’s done wonders for our administration,” Dillon said.

The vote to extend Waterman’s contract came just 13 days after a school board election in which two incumbents, Dillon and Jill Beda Daniels, were re-elected, defeating three candidates, Frank Evans, Dave Herndon and Tim Vlcek, who were quite critical of the current state of affairs at LTHS.

Waterman has been criticized by some for his handling of a proposed sale of undeveloped land the school owns in Willow Springs. The school board was ready to sell the approximately 70-acre tract of land to an industrial developer before the deal fell apart in the face of strong opposition from people who lived near the land and the village of Willow Springs. 

Waterman is in his second year as superintendent at LTHS. He was the principal at LTHS for seven years before being named superintendent in 2021, replacing Tim Kilrea, who retired. 

His first year as superintendent was marked by sometimes harsh criticism at school board meetings by some members of the public who opposed COVID-19 pandemic masking requirements and complained about grading policies that have been since rolled back. Some also complained about the school district’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, which included the hire of the district’s first-ever director of equity and belonging.

But Waterman has been a calm figure through all the criticism and has earned strong loyalty from the school board. Under Waterman LTHS completed what is believed to be its first strategic plan.

“I’m just grateful for the confidence the board has placed in me,” Waterman said after the April 17 meeting.

Waterman said he saw the new contract as not only a vote of confidence in himself but in the district’s leadership team and staff.

“They’re the ones who do the work every day,” Waterman said.

Waterman’s travel stipend and a $500 a month automobile stipend are eliminated in the contract extension. But the school’s contribution to a tax-sheltered annuity will double to 5% of Waterman’s salary from 2.5%.

Waterman’s current salary is $247,200. Next year he is expected to make $254,616. He is expected to make 262,254 in the 2024-25 school year.

The contract extension specifies that Waterman’s salary will be $270,122 in the 2025-26 school year, $278,226 in the 2026-2027 school year and $286,753 in the final year of his contract in 2027-28.