Familiar face in running to lead at Union School
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com April 13, 2012 5:22PM
Updated: June 14, 2012 1:51AM
JOLIET — Former Union School District Superintendent Al Gegenheimer is believed to be a top contender to return to that job, after board President John LaRocca reached out to him to apply for the post.
District officials have directed an attorney to negotiate a contract with a candidate whom they have identified only as “Person A,” but Gegenheimer said Thursday he was contacted by Union School earlier in the day.
“They want to talk to me further,” Gegenheimer said. “I have not seen the contract yet.”
Gegenheimer appears to be LaRocca’s handpicked choice, and the board has a history of selecting family members and friends of LaRocca for positions on Union School’s staff and board.
LaRocca said when the superintendent search began, he called Gegenheimer and invited him to apply. He was the only one of 23 applicants whom LaRocca said he personally called.
Gegenheimer also previously worked with district business manager Richard Dombrowski, the former Channahon School District superintendent, in that district.
LaRocca would not reveal the identify of candidate “A” in case the candidate failed to agree on a contract, he said. The new superintendent’s salary is “up to the negotiations,” LaRocca said, but he is looking to pay less than the $133,900 being paid to Superintendent Barbara Littlejohn, who plans to retire at the end of the school year after serving Union School for 35 years.
Gegenheimer is the superintendent in Minooka Grade School District, earning $146,000. The district has 4,000 students in seven schools, compared with Union’s one school with 100 students.
Gegenheimer was principal/superintendent at Union School, which serves portions of Joliet and New Lenox, from January 2001 to July 2004.