Quincy, IL News - Journal930.com
Quincy, IL News - Journal930.com
Wednesday, Sep 2, 2015

Quincy School Board tabs Indiana educator to lead district

Quincy School Board tabs Indiana educator to lead district

2 years, 6 months ago by Bob Gough

Steven Cobb has 35 years in education, but this will be his first superintendent's job

The Quincy School Board has hired the chief academic officer from the Ft. Wayne, Indiana Community Schools to be the next superindendent of the Quincy Public Schools.

By a 6-1 vote Friday evening, the Board hired Steven M. Cobb to be the new Quincy Superintendent. Board member Melvin "Bud" Niekamp voted no.

Cobb has served as the chief operations officer at Ft. Wayne and has been the chief academic officer since 2009. Cobb will sign a three-year contract with the Quincy School District at $180,000 annually. In 2011, Cobb was making $117,687 at Ft. Wayne.

Cobb takes over for Lonny Lemon, who left last June for Oak Grove in the North Chicago suburbs. Former Peoria Superintendent Cal Lee's term as Quincy's interim superintendent of schools ended this week and the district's business manager, Joel Murphy, will assume the role of interim superintendent until Cobb can get to Quincy this summer.

Cobb has been in education administration in Indiana since 1987, serving as principal, assistant superintendent, chief operations officer and chief academic officer. He began his teaching career in Bloomington, Indiana in 1976.

School Board President Bill Daniels while most of the Board supported Cobb's hiring, he made it a point to say Board members Stephanie Ewrin and Jeff Mays took the lead on the final negotiations. Erwin, Mays, Stone and Niekamp will be the four remaining board members who will work with Cobb as he hires his leadership team. Board President Bill Daniels, Vice-President Steve Krause and Board member Tom Dickerson are not seeking re-election, so three new members will come aboard in April.

Erwin said Cobb "brings over 30 years of being a classroom teacher all the way up to the chief academic officer. He has strong student achievement criteria and he had strong classroom leadership credentials. He helped turn that district around with improved AYP scores two years in a row. He has dealt with many of the situations we are dealing with, including having a high poverty rate."

Mays said he was thrilled with the hire.

"I really believe this is the time to dream big," Mays said, playing on the slogan of the Quincy Public Schools Foundation's fund drive. "A fresh start. A fresh energy, a fresh perspective. The expectations ought to be a lot higher and let's see if we can hit them. We know we want to be in a better place and we're going to help chart that course, but he has to captain the ship."

"I think he brings a refreshing new point of view to the district," said Board member Scott Stone. "I think his background and experience are excellent. In his words, he's a person of great moral character. I think that's the best thing we can look for right now. Someone who is trustworthy and someone who is a leader."

Last month, Cobb was in the running for the superintendent's position for the Manatee County School District in Sarasota, Florida. That job pays between $170,000 and $195,000.