WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Galesburg School District Hires Next Superintendent

May 4, 2017

The Galesburg School District has its new leader. John Asplund will take over as superintendent, replacing the retiring Ralph Grimm on July 1.

The Board of Education this week agreed to hire Asplund, who currently serves as superintendent of the Farmington Central School District.

Asplund was hired for that job in 2011. He has been a school superintendent since 2002 with stops in the Villa Grove, Reed-Custer, and Lake Bluff Elementary school districts.

Asplund signed a five-year contract with the Galesburg district, where he will make $188,000 in his first year.

Board President Bob Lindstrom said the district had two quality finalists in Asplund and Knoxville Superintendent Steve Wilder.  He said Asplund's resume was the deciding factor.

"The public wanted an experienced person and John Asplund has a great deal of experience in other districts, and we felt very comfortable with him at this time," Lindstrom said.

Lindstrom also said the entire superintendent search process produced two "miracles": one was being able to find a superintendent in a short time frame, and the other was getting a unanimous choice from the people involved in the search.

Before the school board vote, board member Wayne Statham talked about interviewing the finalists, and how one comment from Asplund stuck with him.

"I remember distinctly at the interview one of the first things Mr. Asplund said, when asked why you want to come here. He said 'I want to come home,'" Statham said about Asplund, who is a graduate of the ROWVA School District.

"That's what I wanted to hear from a candidate. That's what all of us want to hear from a candidate. I want to come home, I want be a part of this community, I want to stay here."

Statham also talked about how he was fed up with the short tenures of recent superintendents in the district, calling it a "merry-go-round." Current Superintendent Ralph Grimm was hired in 2015. Grimm's successor, Bart Arthur, started in 2013.

Board member Jean Ann Glasnovich echoed those sentiments, saying that having Asplund for at least five years would be important for the district.