A stunned Board of Education on Monday night accepted Joe Tieman’s resignation for purposes of retirement as Superintendent of Community Unit School District 7. The resignation is effective June 30, the end of the academic year.
Tieman, currently in his seventh year as superintendent, has been a district employee for 18 years, serving first as a middle school principal. He was an assistant superintendent under former Supt. Paul Skeans and stepped into the superintendent’s role upon Skeans’ retirement. Prior to starting his career at CUSD 7, Tieman was a teacher in the Girard school district.
Tieman told the BenGil Post he reached the decision to retire quickly and suddenly. As recently as January, the board had voted to extend Tieman’s contract by one year, a routine action to maintain a three-year contract for the superintendent.
“It’s been the best job in the world,” Tieman said of his tenure as superintendent. “To be treated so well by the board and to be treated so well by the staff, I can’t think of a single negative thing.”
Tieman said he’s been proud of the board’s willingness to add personnel to provide more and more educational opportunities for district students, and he’s been pleased to see standardized assessment test scores gradually improving.
“Number one, I’m proud of how this community came together as a school district when the mine subsidence happened and we ended up with a beautiful new school,” he said.
In other action Monday night, the board hired Stephanie Bray as a technology integration specialist for the 2020-21 school year and posted an open position for a middle school physical education teacher—the position Bray will vacate to accept the new job.
Board members also voted unanimously to join in a collaborative application for grant money to cover up to 85 percent of the cost of equipping one or more rooms for distance learning programs. Spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, University of Illinois and Blackburn College, the program is intended to help schools offer programs to students of other districts within the cooperative.
Tieman also briefly updated the board on efforts the school district has undertaken to continue education programs for students during the Covid-19 school closure. The district is offering electronic options for students who have computers and internet access. In addition, the district distributed packets of printed materials for students unable to take advantage of the electronic option. Tieman said the district will distribute a second round of instructional materials on March 30.