Rock Island teachers call on school board members to leave vacant a newly-created deputy superintendent position

Teachers, staff and community members to pack tonight’s school board meeting

ROCK ISLAND – Teachers, staff and community members will call on the Rock Island-Milan School District 41 (RIMSD) Board of Education (BOE) to leave vacant a newly-created deputy superintendent position at tonight’s school board meeting. They’ll also demand the board immediately be transparent, especially when it comes to administrative hiring, and will call on the board to abide by the school board oath.

“We are in the middle of a teacher and support staff shortage. We have more than 20 open educator positions in our district right now. Instead of focusing on filling the positions that work directly with our students and are critical to their day-to-day development and success, the board wants to add more administrators to an already full roster,” Rock Island Education Association (RIEA) President Andrew Hains said.

According to the RIMSD website, there are currently 14 open support staff positions and nine open teacher positions within District 41. Meanwhile, the district has added more than $1 million in new administrative positions, which means RIMSD now has a lower student/administrator ratio than other comparable districts, like Moline.

The BOE recently approved hiring a new superintendent, Sharon Williams. Williams officially starts in her role as superintendent this fall, but she is already on the district payroll. Williams has worked in three other school districts in Mississippi, New York and, most recently, at Proviso Township High School District 209 in Forest Park. Those administrations have had financial issues, including missing money, violating the rights of employees and have also been accused of attacking students and community members.

“We want Williams to be successful here, but hiring a deputy superintendent is not the answer. We’ve seen no evidence as to why this position is needed. We believe success comes with a board and superintendent who work closely with our teachers and staff,” Hains said. “The teachers, certified staff, paraprofessionals and support staff are the people who work most closely with our students every day. There is no way to provide a high-quality public education to all 6,000-plus Rock Island students without open, honest collaboration with our educators.”

RIEA represents 439 teachers and other certified professionals working in District 41. The district serves the nearly 6,125 students who attend the 14 schools in the district.

“We hope the school board members who pledged to put students first when they took office, remember our 6,000-plus students when making future decisions. We also look forward to having an open dialogue with the board about what our students, our schools and our communities’ needs are. Our students benefit when all of our stakeholders work together with their best interests at heart,” Hains said.

The District 41 BOE meeting is at 6 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School (1307 4th St. W., Milan). It will also be streamed live here.


At 135,000 members strong, the Illinois Education Association (IEA) is the largest union in Illinois. The IEA represents PreK-12 teachers outside the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty and support staff, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.

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