The Blue Ridge school board is expected to hire its next superintendent on Nov. 20.
Dr. Hillary Stanifer, who is in her third year as the district curriculum coordinator, was identified through an internal search.
If approved by the school board, Stanifer will receive a five-year contract starting at $130,000 annually, according to current superintendent Susan Wilson, who is retiring next summer.
“Dr. Stanifer has done an excellent job in creating this new role for our district, and we were very fortunate to have hired her back in 2017,” said School Board President Dale Schneman. “Her experience includes 16 years of teaching with over 10 years of administration experience. Our current staff have been very supportive and it would be such a seamless transition. The relationships with current staff and the administration team are already in place.”
“We started the process about a year ago,” said Wilson. “The board discussed whether to go in house or have a full-blown search.”
With two candidates available in-house – Stanifer and Schneider Elementary Principal Ryan Peyton – Wilson said the board felt in-house was the route to take.
“We had two candidates that were outstanding, so the search firm said if you have great candidates you should do an in-house search,” she added.
As curriculum coordinator, Stanifer’s responsibilities have included directing professional development activities, coordinating curriculum planning and implementation, providing direct instructional support to teachers, coordinating teacher mentoring, writing grants and developing after-school programming for students.
Schneman is happy to have a new superintendent named several months prior to Wilson’s retirement.
“Honestly, it feels great to have this position filled so early in the process,” he said. “When you know that your in-house candidate is more than qualified and already has had three years in your district to prove their value, it makes this a whole lot easier.”
Stanifer previously served 10 years as assistant principal and principal at Liberty Middle School in Edwardsville, and taught mathematics at both the high school and middle school levels. Just prior to being hired at Blue Ridge, she was assistant principal for one year at Garden Hills Elementary School in Champaign.
Wilson feels Stanifer’s background with the district will help her hit the ground running next July.
“She’s been in classrooms and knows teachers personally,” she said. “She has gotten to know district staff, parents and students. That sets her up for a lot of success.”
Dr. Stanifer earned a bachelor’s degree in Math Education and Business from Indiana Wesleyan University, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University, and specialist and doctoral degrees in Educational Administration from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. She is currently completing licensure as a certified school business official.
Stanifer and her husband, Scott, have three daughters and one granddaughter and currently live in Mahomet. They will relocate to the Blue Ridge school district.