D-36 will need new superintendent

WONDER LAKE – Harrison District 36 has to start looking for a new superintendent to take the helm of the school district.

Bhavna Sharma-Lewis, who is in her third year as superintendent of District 36, plans to leave at the end of the school year for Riverside Public School District 96, near the west side of Chicago.

District 36 Board President Linda Amettis said the school board will discuss its need for a search at its Dec. 11 meeting. Whether to use a search firm and how to involve the community and staff will be considered, as well as a timeline for the search.

“You have to look at what type of person you want,” Amettis said.

Amettis said she was aware Sharma-Lewis had been recruited for the new job.

“When you do good things, people notice and they want you,” Amettis said.

Amettis said Sharma-Lewis helped unite the staff and created a collaborative work environment.

She also helped push technology improvements in the school district, Amettis said.

“She took our technology vision and ran with it,” Amettis said.

“A majority of this community are very pleased with the education their children are getting,” Amettis added.

Sharma-Lewis said she could not comment until the District 96 school board finalized her contract.

This school year, Sharma-Lewis is earning $110,000 in salary. She also is receiving $26,450 to purchase health insurance, and $1,200 for phone expenses.

Sharma-Lewis will go from a district of just under 500 students and about 50 staff members to a district of more than 1,600 early childhood through eighth-grade students and about 235 staff members.

The District 96 school board plans to finalize Sharma-Lewis’ contract next week, Board President Mary Ellen Meindl said in a news release.

Sharma-Lewis’ appointment is expected to take place on Dec. 18. She will start in her new job on July 1.

“Dr. Sharma-Lewis has a strong background in curriculum and instruction, and understands the role of technology in promoting 21st century learning,” Meindl said. “She is a visionary leader and will cultivate a positive relationship with our students, staff and the community.”

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