The Superintendent of Schools for District 117 will in all likelihood finish his career as a Crimson.
The District 117 School Board approved a new contract for Superintendent Steve Ptacek Wednesday night. Ptacek and the board agreed to a five-year extension that will keep him in the superintendent’s chair through December 2026.
School Board President Noll Beard says the board is very happy with where Ptacek has brought the district from where it was when he first started in December of 2012.
Beard says things like his handling of the sales tax early on, handling of bonds for the continued construction improvements made in aging district buildings, along with his management of the district during the COVID-19 pandemic were all examples of why the Board of Education wanted to ensure he would end his career in Jacksonville.
“Right now there are superintendent positions open across the state, and we wanted to ensure that we are able to keep him here not just for the near term, but for several years. So the current new contract takes him out through December of 2026, and when it comes time we will extend that to the end of his retirement, is the plan, which would just be another semester basically.”
A five-year contract is the longest that can be signed for a superintendent so the board will offer a new contract for the remainder of the 2026 / 2027 school year at that time.
Ptacek says from the beginning, he thought he would be with District 117 for nine to ten years, and then have to look to a larger district to finish out his last few years before retirement. He says after continued work and discussion with the school board, they were able to reach an agreement that makes both sides very happy with the situation.
“There is still a lot of work to get done here. And I think when the board analyzed the amount of dollars that are in play, the money that I would guarantee I would be here to properly use that money I feel they felt was definitely financially worth it. And I am happy to understand that I am going to stay here and that I’m going to retire a Crimson.
I really am, I’m happy with that. I didn’t say anything out there and what I’m saying now, I’m almost getting emotional about it. But this place has become a home for me and my family and the thought of leaving was difficult. But there’s also the fact of superintendents are in high demand throughout the state right now, and the pay for superintendents throughout the state is getting, because of the demand and especially following COVID is getting incredibly high.
And I’m still leaving money off the table. In other words, I do know that if I were to pursue going up north there would be much more money and there would be more money in my retirement, but money’s not everything. I love working here, I love the community, I love the staff, I love working with this board and I’m really excited about these last five years of jobs we have to do.”
Ptacek will receive a base salary of $194,000 for the 2021-2022 school year, with incremental increases of 5% topping out at 6% by the end of the contract.
Also announced at the meeting Wednesday Director Mike McGuiles will be retiring at the end of the current school year. The Board approved a contract for a new Assistant Superintendent who will assume the duties carried out by McGuiles.
The current Principal of Riverton High School Matthew Moore will be joining District 117 on July 1st of next year. Beard says Moore currently holds his Superintendent’s Certificate which is the reason for the difference in titles.
Beard says the board knows Moore will have some big shoes to fill following McGuiles retirement, however they are confident he will fill the role very well.