Dr. Philip Bender, who joined Park Ridge-Niles Elementary District 64 in 2010, has announced he will leave at the end of this school year.
The district released a statement, but it did not give a reason for his departure, nor did it indicate his future plans.
The statement reads as follows:
Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 Superintendent Philip Bender announced today that he plans to leave District 64 at the end of the 2013-14 school year. At his departure on June 30, Dr. Bender will have completed four years as District 64’s superintendent.
In his four years with District 64, Dr. Bender has led the 4,400-student District through a strategic plan that has accelerated the use of technology in educating students, better differentiated instruction, and moved toward giving each child personally challenging goals to meet. Dr. Bender has also led a renewed focus on the District’s facilities, including major upgrades to Carpenter, Franklin, and Field Elementary Schools as well as Lincoln Middle School, and the development of a first-ever Facility Master Plan for the District.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished in the past few years in District 64,” Dr. Bender said. “The District is well-positioned to keep improving how we educate kids, including meeting the challenges posed by the new ‘Common Core’ curriculum. And with the District in sound financial shape and with plans underway to upgrade and maintain our schools, I am ready to move on to new challenges.”
Board President Anthony Borrelli noted that the District’s financial condition has been strengthened over the past four years. “Dr. Bender has worked collaboratively with the Board to fulfill 2007 referendum initiatives, while being a careful steward of the increased resources taxpayers have provided,” Board President Borrelli stated.
Much of Dr. Bender’s time also has been channeled into the District’s aging buildings. “I have appreciated Dr. Bender’s energy and focus in accelerating the District’s efforts to upgrade and maintain our facilities,” said Board member and former Board President John Heyde. “Thanks to Dr. Bender’s efforts, we have tackled long-standing problems and inequities in our buildings, and we are on the right track in keeping our schools first-class places to learn,” added Board President Borrelli.
Dr. Bender has been superintendent since July 1, 2010, when he joined District 64. Dr. Bender previously was superintendent of schools of the New Prairie United School Corporation in New Carlisle, Indiana. Dr. Bender has over 37 years of experience as an educator, including “Teacher of the Year” honors in Indiana and 19 years of service in school administration.
The District 64 Board will begin a search for a new superintendent later this fall. “We will be conducting a national search for an outstanding educator to lead our high-performing District, and plan to invite District-wide involvement to identify the values and priorities of our community as the Board begins this process,” according to Board President Borrelli.