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Currie praised at final board meeting

District 196 school board chairman Mike Roseen gave school superintendent John Currie fair warning before Currie made his final report on the school year's district's goals.

"I should warn you John, if you didn't meet the goals we might not have you back next meeting," Roseen said at Monday's regular board meeting.

Of course, Roseen was kidding.

In his last meeting as District 196 school superintendent, Currie made his 2008-09 district goals final report Monday. He is retiring, effective June 30, after years as District 196 school superintendent.

Jane Berenz, the district's current director of teaching and learning, will begin her term as superintendent on July 1.

"There's lots of things coming to this district that aren't going to necessarily be fun, or pleasant to deal with, but the people to deal with them are here," Currie said in his final address.

In the meantime, Monday's meeting turned into the the John Currie Show.

Board members showered Currie with praise for his efforts during the past few years, and gave him a commemorative bell.

"John's been a class act," board member Rob Duchscher said. "I will miss him professionally and personally. I hope some day he understands the thousands of people that he has touched."

Roseen recalled approaching Currie about the superintendent position six years ago.

"This district was going through a little turmoil," said Roseen. "Not only did you hold the district together during that period of time, but continuing on for those next six years you've made all the difference in the world here."

Currie was well-respected as superintendent. The community even mentioned in the search for his replacement that it would like a new superintendent as similar to Currie as possible.

The community's impact on his tenure isn't something Currie is likely to forget.

"Being a superintendent gives you a chance to look into the hearts of the people in the community, and I can say without a doubt that the hearts of this community are in exactly the right place. That's what makes this such, sometimes, an easy job," he said.

"I believe at this time, as we go forward, this community can trust this board, can trust this district to be transparent, and honest, and unwavering in our commitment to the children... If I have had a part of that, I'm proud to be a part of that."

And that is where Currie's report on the district goals sets an example.

During his report, Currie mentioned the implementation of a mass notification service as a key aspect for communication with the community.

Other key objectives this year included the continuation of the Q-Comp plan, a look at world language education opportunities for kindergarten through fifth-grade, and a change in school start times.

The world language curriculum and the change in school start times were eventually passed over.

"There is a tremendous amount of interest and support," Currie said of the world language curriculum. "I'm hopeful, in the future, that this district will be able to do that."

Currie said the final goals followed his general philosophy as superintendent.

"All these things that you hear tonight fit into what I personally tried to for our students, and that is, the same three things I've talked about for years. A system that provides an academic background and skill for students to be successful in the future no matter what they try to pursue. a place where they are safe, and a place where they enjoy coming to school. In this climate I think we can say that this year all those things were met."

All the reasons that the board and community didn't want to lose Currie.

Berenz contract finalized

Berenz was named the new superintendent in May. Her contract was approved at Monday's meeting.

Similar in many ways to Currie's contract, Berenz will be on a three-year contract which will be effective July 1 through June 30, 2012.

The contract includes a 2009-10 salary of $185,000 and benefits.