HINSDALE, IL — Often, a local government’s top administrator is vulnerable when the outcome of an election means a new set of bosses. On Tuesday, incumbents on the Hinsdale High School District 86 board were ousted by candidates unhappy with curriculum changes approved since late 2019. A key person involved in those revisions is Superintendent
HINSDALE, IL — Often, a local government’s top administrator is vulnerable when the outcome of an election means a new set of bosses.
On Tuesday, incumbents on the Hinsdale High School District 86 board were ousted by candidates unhappy with curriculum changes approved since late 2019. A key person involved in those revisions is Superintendent Tammy Prentiss.
In November, the school board unanimously approved a three-year contract with Prentiss, who was appointed to replace Bruce Law in mid-2019. Under the new agreement, she was to continue receiving $250,000 a year.
Through negotiations, the new board could buy out Prentiss’ contract.
On Wednesday, Patch interviewed the four winners in Tuesday’s election — Jeff Waters, Peggy James, Debbie Levinthal and Terri Walker.
None of them made any commitments on Prentiss’ status. All of them noted her new contract.
Asked whether she wanted to keep the superintendent, Levinthal said, “I don’t really have a comment on that.”
Waters said the status quo with the administration could remain. But he said he wanted to see how it handled the board’s decisions on curriculum.
“I think it’s in the best interest of the community to reverse the changes, and the administration hopefully will commit to those reconsiderations,” he said.
On Wednesday, former school board President Nancy Pollak took aim at Prentiss. About 12 hours after the outcome of the election became known, Pollak posted on Facebook, “Perhaps now the entire D86 community will realize the problem is the Superintendent and her failure to understand who she works for and how to balance those needs.”
Pollak, who supported Prentiss’ hiring as superintendent, resigned suddenly from the board in June, with the district saying she was moving out of state.
Through a spokesman, Prentiss declined to comment.
Pollak seems personally close to her successor, school board President Kevin Camden, who lost in Tuesday’s election. Pollak wholeheartedly endorsed Camden and informed her Facebook friends two weeks ago that she could get them Camden campaign signs.
Patch reached out to Camden for comment on Pollak’s statement Wednesday, but he has yet to respond. Both Camden and Prentiss are expected to attend Thursday night’s school board meeting.
When Pollak resigned in June, Camden praised her, calling her “a dedicated and selfless public servant” and “an important member of our team.”
On Friday morning, Camden issued a statement on Facebook about his loss. It was about two hours after Pollak’s, but it is unclear whether he knew about it at the time of his writing.
In his message, Camden thanked his family. He also singled a few others in the community for their support, among them Pollak. He suggested Pollak, board member Keith Chval and a couple of others join a Thursday night bowling league.
“It was a privilege working with you all on the D86 (school board),” he said.
Although Pollak criticized Prentiss, Camden apparently feels differently — at least when the board approved the superintendent’s contract in November.
“Thanks to her hard work and tireless efforts, we have made significant progress on key initiatives such as the implementation of our strategic plan and completion of critical upgrades and improvements to our facilities,” Camden said in a statement at the time.
While Camden has yet to publicly respond to Pollak’s Facebook post, James, one of the winners in Tuesday’s election, addressed it during her interview with Patch.
“With respect to Ms. Pollak’s comments, my belief is that it is the board’s responsibility to provide the direction and community feedback to the superintendent,” James said.
The new board takes office May 3.