News

Cobb to step down as superintendent of Quincy School District

Quincy School District Superintendent Steve Cobb. | H-W File Photo/Steve Bohnstedt
Posted: Apr. 16, 2015 6:47 pm Updated: Apr. 30, 2015 6:54 pm
Sheldon Bailey

By EDWARD HUSAR
Staff Writer | 217-221-3378
ehusar@whig.com | @EHusarWHIG

QUINCY — Steve Cobb, superintendent of the Quincy School District for the past two years, is planning to resign at the end of this school year.

School Board member Sheldon Bailey confirmed to The Herald-Whig that Cobb began telling board members this week of his plans to step down. Bailey said Cobb told him he intends to retire.

Cobb did not immediately respond to telephone calls or email messages seeking comment.

Bailey said the School Board has not met to discuss what to do about filling the superintendent's position. The board is scheduled to hold its regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Early Childhood and Family Center.

School Board President Stephanie Erwin didn't want to talk about what Cobb might be planning.

“I have received no formal resignation letter from Steve confirming any information regarding his reported resignation,” Erwin said. “Mr. Bailey, or any board member, cannot and should not be discussing or disclosing any personnel matters pertaining to any district employee.

“It saddens me that this information has been discussed in the public when such matters, if approved, would be announced accordingly after board approval on the personnel addendum or by the employee themselves if they so choose. The board members are privy to confidential information regarding personnel, and our expected trust on those matters are held to the highest standard.

“There should have been no discussions today regarding Mr. Cobb or any district employee by a board member.”

Cobb, 62, started working for the Quincy School District on April 15, 2013. He was hired in February that year after a national search and wasn't supposed to start work until July 1, but after the School Board announced he was being awarded a three-year contract to replace the departing Lonny Lemon, Cobb was eager to start his new job. So with permission from his new and old employers, he showed up for work 2 1/2 months early.

Cobb came to Quincy from the Fort Wayne, Ind., community school system, where he had been chief academic officer since 2010. At the time, he had been in education for 36 years as a teacher, coach, principal, assistant superintendent, chief operations officer and chief education officer. The Quincy job marked his first time as a full-fledged superintendent.

The first thing he did upon arriving in Quincy was to oversee a major restructuring of the district's Central Office. Two former assistant superintendents and the director of technology/testing — all of whom left through retirements or other job offers — were replaced with two newly appointed directors of education (Julie Stratman and Carol Frericks) and a human resources director (Dave Boster).

At Cobb's urging, the board last year authorized the development of a master plan to serve as a blueprint for possible improvements or even new schools. The effort led to the successful passage of an $89 million bond issue in November 2014. Planning for five new K-5 elementary schools and an addition to Quincy High School is now in the works, along with plans to move ninth-graders to QHS and sixth-graders to Quincy Junior High School starting in fall 2016.

Cobb's salary this year is $183,600. He is a native of Vincennes, Ind.

When the School Board ponders how to find a replacement for Cobb, it will be going through an upheaval of its own. Four new members were elected April 7 — Mike Troup, Jim Whitfield, Sandra Rose and Carol Nichols — and will be seated at a special meeting April 29. Those four will join three incumbent board members — Bailey, Richard McNay and Sayeed Ali — who joined the board in April 2013.

Stephanie Erwin