District 300 superintendent leaving for Highland Park district

CARPENTERSVILLE – After three years at the helm of District 300, Superintendent Michael Bregy will leave the state's sixth largest school district in May to head a Highland Park district.

Board members from North Shore District 112 voted to hire Bregy as their next superintendent during a meeting Tuesday evening. Bregy will replace outgoing Superintendent David Bethlow on May 31.

In a fitting venue, District 300 board members shared the news Tuesday with students and residents who attended the district's annual legislative forum at Jacobs High School – a place that began Bregy's District 300 career 14 years ago.

"This is a very friendly, yet sad separation," board member Joe Stevens said. "We wish Dr. Bregy the best in his new position."

Bregy started at the district as assistant principal at Jacobs before taking over as Jacobs' principal. Board members hired Bregy in 2011 to replace former Superintendent Ken Arndt, who retired.

In a news release, Bregy said that a search firm from District 112 "persistently" recruited him to interview with officials at the K-8 district.

"For the last 14 years, District 300 has taken top priority in my life," Bregy said. "I have never had a professional day here that I was unhappy, even during our most challenging times. I was certainly not looking for other job opportunities, but rather, the opportunity came to me."

Bregy gained statewide recognition early in his superintendent tenure after vocally battling tax breaks that the state wanted to extend to Hoffmann Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp., which is located within the district's taxing boundaries.

He also oversaw the district's first labor strike in the past 40 years. Nearly 1,300 teachers walked the picket line for one day in December 2012 before the district and its teachers' union agreed to a three-year deal that lowered class sizes.

Bregy also was instrumental in improving the district's focus on education, creating an innovative teaching and learning team, said board President Anne Miller in a statement.

"We have the utmost confidence in our very talented and dedicated administrators, principals, teachers and staff to work together for a smooth transition," Miller said.

The board will work with Rosemont search firm Hazard, Young and Attea on finding Bregy's replacement both internally and externally, Stevens said.

Members will continue meeting the firm during a closed session on Monday, Stevens said. The board knew around Christmas that Bregy would likely leave the district, he said.

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