Barrington district names new superintendent

BARRINGTON – A new superintendent will oversee the Barrington 220 school district as of Friday.

Resigning from his four-year role as superintendent of District 200 in Wheaton-Warrenville on Thursday, Brian Harris has been selected by Barrington 220 school board members to oversee the 72-square mile Barrington 220 school district. Harris succeeds Tom Leonard, who has served as Barrington 220 superintendent for the past seven years.

Harris, 49, of St. Charles, became experienced with the Barrington 220 school district when he served as Barrington Middle School-Station Campus assistant principal from 1993 to 1998.

Before serving Wheaton-Warrenville, Harris held various leadership positions in his 11-year career with District 303 in St. Charles. Harris is a father of two University of Illinois students, a son and daughter. Harris said he plans to continue to live in St. Charles with his wife while he serves Barrington 220.

Harris' new contract will span five years with a base salary of $260,000 and annual adjustments relating to the Consumer Price Index, which is comparable to Leonard's, according to the district. He currently makes $215,000 annually with similar adjustments.

Barrington 220 board members began their superintendent search in early April when Leonard, who is continuing on to serve as the superintendent of the Eanes Independent School District in Austin, Texas, announced his departure. Barrington 220 school board president Brian Battle said the search process was “extremely time consuming,” involving internal and external candidates, as well as a hired search firm and more than 12 interviews – some starting at 9 p.m. on a week night.

Leonard, who has known Harris since he served at Station school, said the new Barrington 220 superintendent has “great ethics” and is the “best match” for the position.

“I know Brian Harris well,” Leonard said. “He's one of the few people I call on speed dial when I need help. I have a really good feeling about this. Brian is a good man.”

Battle said Harris is “passionate about engaging students and staff in learning; accessible and personable.”

“He understands the important social-emotional aspects of educating children and he is familiar with our community,” Battle said.

Coming from his last school district of 13,500 students and 19 schools, Harris said he is most proud of the stability he brought to Wheaton-Warrenville, having overcome “many fiscal challenges at first.”

Harris began his career as a classroom teacher, coach and assistant principal for schools in Yorkville and Waterman. He earned his bachelor's degree in education from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and his master's and doctoral degrees in educational leadership from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

Moving forward, Harris said he looks forward to continuing and building upon Barrington 220's partnerships with the local business community.

“Barrington 220 has always been a leader in education,” Harris said.

Harris will be charged with executing Barrington 220's newly approved One to World initiative, which will provide all 3,000 Barrington High School students with laptops to use in and out of the classroom, throughout the school year.

Supporting the initiative, Harris said “technology is here to stay.”

“It's a well thought out plan,” Harris said, adding that he is willing to work through any One to World implementation issues with staff and students.

Addressing a more recent parent concern involving elementary class size projections for fall, Harris said he understands that parents have specific expectations for what their child's class should look like and will review the situation upon his arrival.

“I look forward to continuing these efforts and seeking new opportunities to enhance student learning,” Harris said.

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