A familiar face returns to Rockford to lead the city's struggling school district. Friday, administrators re-introduced Ellen Bueschel to the community as district 205's new superintendent.
A 40-year education veteran is on loan to the Rockford school district from Miami University. For one year, the college professor and researcher will try to create a better dialogue with the community, restructure the district staff and help the board find the ideal long-term superintendent.
"One of the things that I bring to the district is hitting the ground running. Because I do know some of the good things that are happening," says Ellen Bueschel.
Bueschel says she took the interim position because she cares about Rockford and the district will serve as a laboratory of sorts to test her theories.
"I know they work in small districts, but I would like to see if it works here and I believe it will," Bueschel adds.
Bueschel's past work with the district is well know and respected which is why so many board members support her.
"Primarily besides giving us time, a year to be able to do a superintendent search, she will be critical to that process because she has great experience in public engagement issues. And she will help us with the conversations the district needs to have, the board needs to have and the community," says Nancy Kalchbrenner, School Board President.
For one year of work, Bueschel will be paid $190,000, $60,000 more than fired superintendent, Alan Brown
"Really districts our size are averaging 200 and well above that. So I think the board had to come to that realization," says Nancy.
Bueschel will start immediately but will no relocate to Rockford until mid August. Current interim superintendent Joyce Combest-Price says she'll retire when her contract expires at the end of August.