The Rockford School Board tonight agreed to hire a 20-year educator who holds National Board Certification in teaching to direct the district’s curriculum and instruction. Richard A. Schroeder was hired as the district’s Chief Academic Officer and will serve on Superintendent Ehren Jarrett’s cabinet. The Chief Academic Officer position and performance goals are directly connected to the RPS 205 five-year strategic plan. Schroeder will oversee K-12 curriculum, College and Career Readiness, bilingual education, special education and grants.
Schroeder works now as the Director of Assessment and Accountability for the East Aurora School District No. 131. He has experience as a middle school and elementary school principal in North Shore and Elgin U-46 districts, as well as teaching experience in Barrington and Deerfield. “The diversity of Rockford is reflected in the multiple districts he has worked in,” Jarrett said.
Schroeder’s 20-year career also includes National Board Certification for teaching, a C-SPAN Fellowship and James Madison Fellowship Award. He is working toward a superintendent endorsement and is expected to complete a doctorate in Educational Leadership in October from the University of Illinois.
The Administration worked with school executive search service Ray and Associates, Inc. for a national search. The candidate pool spanned 49 states, resulting in 22 candidates who completed the application and interview process with the firm. Seven final candidates were presented to RPS 205 officials. Three people were interviewed; Schroeder stood out both with his experience and a strong reputation for collaboration. “We were impressed with his understanding of the necessity to work with all of our stakeholder groups in order to make change happen,” Jarrett said. “We will all take ownership in our decisions to push for what’s best for kids.”
RPS 205 administrators worked with several representatives from the Rockford Education Association and building principals, as well as principal and department supervisors, during the interview process.
“The Chief Academic Officer position is essential in bringing teachers’ voice to the table in curriculum and instruction,” said REA President Dawn Granath. “Richard Schroeder’s broad experience will be invaluable in the hard work ahead.”
The board-approved contract starts May 16 and runs through June 30, 2020, with a starting salary of $152,000. Schroeder will be paid a $10,000 signing bonus. If he breaks his contract, Schroeder must repay that bonus, plus an additional $10,000. That would cover the cost of a national search for a replacement.