Dr. Thompson was chosen by school board members to replace Dr. Alan Brown. The school board fired Dr. Brown in March of 2003. Since then Interim Superintendent Dr. Ellen Bueschel has been taking on the duties of leading the district.
Money is the big challenge that Dr. Thompson has to face. Last month, the Rockford School Board eliminated $16.5 million dollars. 23 News sat down with Dr. Thompson on his first day to get a better vision of his vision for the district.
The nameplate, stationary and signs mean Dr. Dennis Thompson, our new superintendent is ready for the challenge. Dr. Thompson says his first priority is to re-staff the district, which will take the majority of the summer.
Dr. Thompson is setting the standard by saying his administration is in the education business for student achievement and development. Although he says his mission statement is still developing Dr. Thompson outlined to 23 News four-focus points. He says a clear purpose, direction, a good working environment and ambition are his priorities.
In the past, former superintendents have been accused of staying behind the desk and not interacting in the classroom. Dr. Thompson says his goal is to meet as many people as possible. The new superintendent says this is the only way to build trust. In a recent move by the board to save money many students will have to be shifted around the district. This creates maxed out class sizes, a move Dr. Thompson isn't sure he wants to keep.
Dr. Thompson is going to take a look at how we can finance the programs we want to keep. He says he's very impressed with certain aspects of our district.