Highland Park, News

District 113 asst. superintendent moves on with position disappearing next year

Township High School District 113’s district leadership will look much different next school year.

The district is not only searching for a new superintendent, but it is also doing away with a longtime administration position: the assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Dr. Michael Lach, who has held that position for the last four-plus years, will be the next superintendent for Hinsdale District 86, which covers two high schools, Hinsdale South and Hinsdale Central, in the western suburbs.

Lach said that his time with District 113 was filled with challenges and tragedies, from the COVID pandemic to the mass shooting in Highland Park in 2022. Nevertheless, he said he will miss the district.

“It’s been tough. … It’s been really hard, but I really like the people here,” he said. “I really think there’s a great sense of camaraderie, teamwork and support from everyone here – staff, teachers and parents. And it’s special. It’s the fuel that will help take the district even further ahead in the years ahead.” 

The decision to eliminate Lach’s position was actually suggested by Lach himself within the last couple of years. Since then, Lach, Superintendent Dr. Keith Law and others on the district’s administrative team discussed the possibility. Then, within the past year, they recommended the change to the board of education, which agreed to eliminate the position after the 2023-2024 school year.

Law said the responsibilities of the job will be distributed between the principals of Highland Park and Deerfield high schools and the new superintendent.

Law said that because the district’s two high schools are unique, the “principals are really well positioned to be instructional leaders in their buildings.”

“I have become convinced that in District 113 … the schools really have such individual characters and histories and cultures that they really work fairly independently of each other,” he said. “It occurred to me that (curriculum and instruction) needed to be pushed down to the buildings, especially to the principals. That’s where the work really gets done.”

Assistant superintendent for curriculum is one of four assistant superintendents within District 113. The others oversee finance, human resources and administrative services, and student services, respectively. Lach’s salary in 2022 was $223,431, according to openthebooks.com, a project from nonprofit American Transparency that pulls data from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

Lach did not immediately respond to a message from The Record.

The Hinsdale 86 Board of Education approved Lach’s contract (3 years, starting salary of $255,000) on Jan. 10 and he will assume the new position on July 1, according to a release from District 86.

Lach came to Township District 113 in 2019, arriving the same year as Superintendent Dr. Bruce Law, who held Hinsdale 86’s top job from 2013-2019. Law will retire after this school year, as previously reported by The Record.

The Township District 113 is deep into its search for a new superintendent, and the board of education is holding three special meetings this week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 16-18) related to the search. The board hopes to name District 113’s next superintendent in February.

The next superintendent will be District 113’s eighth in eight years; though Law held the position for the last four years.

Highland Park High School Principal Deby Finn will also retire after this school year, as previously reported by The Record.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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