ROCK ISLAND -- The Rock Island/Milan School District has picked Rick Loy to be its next superintendent.
Monday night, the board voted 4-3 to offer the contract to Mr. Loy, currently principal of Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Milan. Board president Elma ``Mooch'' Gay, vice president Linda Dothard, and Margie Mejia-Caraballo voted against the offer.
The earliest a contract would be finalized would be during the next board meeting, now set for Jan. 13, Ms. Gay said.
Mr. Loy was out of town with his wife, Carol, who teaches at Horace Mann, and their children. He learned about the offer shortly after the vote.
During a telephone interview late Monday, Mr. Loy emphasized that in his new job he will continue to put ``kids first.''
``Turning the helm from (current superintendent David) Markward over to me will keep us moving forward and toward accomplishing our strategic plan,'' Mr. Loy said. ``If we keep moving in that direction, exciting things will happen in this district.''
Now his next and biggest challenge upon receiving his contract, he said, will be ``getting ourselves on the same page, working together again and putting the focus on what's best for the kids of District 41.''
Mr. Loy said he'll complete his superintendent certificate in May, and currently is interning with Mr. Markward as part of that process.
If he accepts the contract, Mr. Loy's first day as superintendent will be July 1.
The superintendent search began in late October, when Mr. Markward submitted his resignation. Board members initially wanted to promote from within, but then changed their minds Dec. 5. They reversed that decision Dec. 22, and said they would settle on a candidate Dec. 29.
Two other candidates were vying for the job -- district assistant superintendent of human resources I.V. Foster and Grant Elementary principal Darryl Taylor.
``We were wanting to put somebody in place that could continue the direction the district was going,'' Ms. Gay said about the board's decision. However, Mr. Loy was not her first choice.
``I have information that I thought made one of our other candidates stronger,'' she said, adding that she will still support Mr. Loy as the next superintendent despite her vote.
Ms. Mejia-Caraballo said the process ``has been very long and difficult.
``I voted the way my constituents and all stakeholders wanted me to vote,'' she said. Ms. Mejia-Caraballo added that even though she dissented, she will move forward with the majority's decision.
Ms. Dothard declined to comment.
Before a 90-minute closed session Monday night, 10 people spoke in Mr. Loy's favor. More than 50 people attended the meeting and clapped when the vote was completed.
All 10 speakers lauded Mr. Loy's work in the district. He previously was principal and gifted coordinator at Lincoln Elementary, and principal of the district's first year-round school, Horace Mann Elementary.
Staff writer Robin Youngblood can be reached at (309) 786-6441, ext. 257, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.