New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann was hired as the new superintendent of the one-school Union District 81 during a special meeting Saturday morning.
The Union School District serves a little over 100 students from Joliet and part of New Lenox. The Union school board voted 4-2 in favor of Baldermann's hiring, with one member abstaining.
Baldermann is a retired police chief in Chicago Ridge, and since that he was a New Lenox District 122 board president from 2005 to 2007, according to a questionnaire he submitted to Patch in 2011. He has been the New Lenox mayor since 2007.
"My goal was always to get into education after I retired as police chief," Baldermann said Saturday night at the Triple Play concert. "More districts are hiring leaders as school superintendents. I have some experience in education, but there's a lot more that goes into it."
He has a three-year contract for $127,000 annually. Baldermann said that in addition to being District 122 board president, he has superintendent certification and previously served as a substitute teacher.
Baldermann said he'll work out of an office at the Union School District located just west of New Lenox on Cherry Hill Road, but will still spend time in his office in Village Hall. He said his new job will not impact his role as mayor, which is a part-time job that pays $18,000 annually.
He said one of his priorities would be to smooth over some of the school board tension he's perceived. Another top priority is increasing the district's grades.
"There's an advantage to having smaller class sizes. There's an opportunity to really personalize the education," Baldermann said. "I want to make sure the Union School District is headed in the right direction."