Don White of Troy Elementary District 30-C in Plainfield was named Friday as the new superintendent for Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181.
White was presented with a three-year contract at a base salary of $232,500 and begins work May 27 in District 181.
White was chosen from a field of 43 applicants, six of whom were interviewed by the District 181 Board. White was recruited for the position. The district used the services of professional search firm BWP & Associates in the process of finding a replacement for Schuster.
“We had great candidates; it was a very tough decision,” board President Marty Turek said. “There are three who quickly rose to the top.”
Turek said White had all the qualities the board was seeking, and more experience than some other candidates.
“He has great leadership skills and great knowledge of curriculum and technology,” Turek said. “He’s a guy of action. He’s a great communicator and a great listener, and he gets input from all of the stakeholders.”
In addition with being impressed with District 181 itself, White said he was drawn here because of good things within the community.
“There’s a key interest in making the schools the best they could be,” he said.
White said his first priority as superintendent would be to fill positions being vacated with the resignations of Kevin Russell, assistant superintendent of learning, and Doug Eccarius, assistant superintendent of human resources, both of whom are leaving June 30.
He also is aware of the building issues at Hinsdale Middle School, which has had mold and roof problems.
“I want to make sure we’re doing what needs to be done with all of the facilities in the district,” White said.
An administrator in Illinois schools since 1991, White has held several education leadership positions. He has worked since July 2007 at Troy District 30-C, a district with seven schools and about 4,500 students. He previously worked as superintendent for Pekin Elementary District 108 and Pleasant Plains Unit School District 8.
He also has experience as an administrator and teacher in Champaign Unit District 4, LeRoy Unit District 2, Dwight Elementary District 3, and Mahomet-Seymour Unit District 3.
“I have had the opportunity to work with many teachers and principals, and together we have been able to impact the learning process for children, right in the classroom,” he said.
White said he enjoyed the interview process in District 181.
“I felt a connection to the district and was made very comfortable in conversations with the board and other district leaders,” he said. “It was also clear that my core values were a good match to the board and the organization as a whole.”
White holds a doctorate from Illinois State University with a superintendent’s endorsement, a master of education from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a bachelor of science in education from Western Illinois University.
He has served in a number of service and community organizations, including chambers of commerce, Kiwanis and the United Way of Will County. He has held leadership roles in many professional organizations, such as the Illinois Association of School Administrators, where he has served as a mentor, a professional development committee representative, and chair facilitator of the School for Advanced Leadership.
Among other honors and awards, White earned the Illinois Association of School Administrators Service to Education Award in 2007 and 2012.
White has been married for 32 years to Lori, a registered nurse. They have two grown children, one grandson, and a second grandchild due in June.
He will replace Renee Schuster, who announced her resignation Feb. 10. Schuster is stepping down June 30 to return to the St. Louis area, where she has family. Schuster began work as superintendent in District 181 July 1, 2010.