Telluride schools chief hired to lead District 102

New superintendent has experience leading referendum campaigns

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By Bob Skolnik

Contributing Reporter

The Brookfield-LaGrange School District 102 school board on Thursday night hired a new superintendent — and looked all the way to Colorado to find him.

Kyle Schumacher, who is superintendent of a school district in Telluride, Colorado, will be the district's new superintendent effective July 1. He'll replace Warren Shillingburg, who agreed earlier this year to a mutual parting of the ways when his current contract expires on June 30.

Shillingburg, who took over in District 102, has not yet found a new job for the next school year.

Schumacher is a native of Illinois, growing up in Highland, near St. Louis. Prior to becoming superintendent of the Telluride school district in 2011, Schumacher had spent his entire career in Illinois.

After graduating from the University of Illinois, he started out as a band teacher at Roy School in Northlake. He has 19 years of administrative experience. After teaching at Roy School he became an instrumental music director and technology leader in Northbrook School District 28.

Schumacher then became an assistant principal at Deer Path School in Lake Forest. In 17 years at Lake Forest District 67, he rose from assistant principal to principal to the position of assistant superintendent for educational services before leaving for Colorado.

 He earned a master's degree in educational leadership and a doctorate in education from Northern Illinois University.

Schumacher, 47, agreed to a three-year contract. His initial salary will be $205,000. He said he is making $140,000 in Telluride.

Wanting to be near his parents back in Illinois was prime reason for wanting to move back to Illinois, Schumacher said. But leaving Telluride will be hard, he admitted.

"I can see the ski slopes right now from my office window," Schumacher told the Landmark on Friday.

In the near future Schumacher, will be expected to lead a campaign for a tax increase as the district's financial condition has been deteriorating. District 102 is projected to run an operating deficit of close to $2 million this year.

In his more than three years in Telluride, Schumacher helped get two referendums passed — an $800,000 referendum in 2012 and a $24 million bond issue last month.

"His referendum experience was an important consideration for us and his communication skills were, we thought, very strong," said David May, the president of the District 102 school board. "That was a plus."

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