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BHS Principal Will Become Next Batavia Superintendent

The Batavia School Board selected Batavia High School's Lisa Hichens as the district's next leader.

A current Batavia principal will become the district's next superintendent.

The Batavia School Board unanimously selected Batavia High School principal Dr. Lisa Hichens as the future leader of Batavia Public Schools. The decision was first announced during a special school board meeting on Tuesday night.

“This is an exciting time to be in education and I’m thrilled with the opportunity to serve as the next superintendent,” Hichens said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to collaborating with the Batavia community to continue the district’s tradition of academic excellence and continuous improvement.”

Hichens will officially begin her role as superintendent on July 1, 2013, when Dr. Jack Barshinger retires from the leadership post he has held for the past seven years. Barshinger announced his intent to retire on Aug. 20.

Transition planning with Barshinger will begin early next week and will continue through June 2013.

Hichens’ promotion to superintendent will leave a vacancy for the principal’s position at Batavia High School. This position, along with the Director of Human Resources and Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction, is expected to be filled by March 2013, the School Board's announcement said.

During the coming months, Hichens will focus on communicating with stakeholders, relationship-building, and learning even more about the district and its operations.

“Over the years, Hichens has established herself as an exceptional educator and administrator and has garnered the respect and admiration of colleagues, students, parents and the community,” Board member Cathy Dremel said. “She is a strong match to what our stakeholders identified during the search process and we are pleased to welcome Hichens to her new role.”

The Super Search

The School Board’s decision to hire Hichens follows a comprehensive search by board members in collaboration with the superintendent search firm, School Exec Connect.

The search process began in September with focus groups and an online survey that included input from community members, parents, administrators and staff. Utilizing the results of the focus groups and survey, School Exec Connect developed a comprehensive leadership profile, which identified the desired qualities of the next superintendent.

As a part of the search process, School Board members reviewed candidate applications and supporting documentation. Then they conducted interviews, background and reference checks. The team of interviewers included board members, teachers, administrators, staff, parents and community members.

“Hiring a superintendent is one of the most important jobs with which the Board of Education is charged,” Board President Ron Link said. “Partnering with the community was vital to the process for selecting our next superintendent and we thank the members of the community for their valuable input.”

Lisa Hichens Bio

Hichens has served as Batavia High School principal since 2009. She first joined the district in 1994 as math teacher at Batavia High School. Then she progressed to other leadership roles including serving as Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning, a post she held from 2005 to 2009.

Hichens earned her Ed. Doctorate in Leadership in Curriculum and Instruction from Aurora University, where she also earned her superintendent’s endorsement. She received her Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership and her Type 75 General Administrative Certificate from Northern Illinois University. Hichens earned her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Illinois. 

Hichens lives in Naperville with her husband Mathew and their children, Emma and Owen.

Related Stories:

  • Batavia Superintendent Jack Barshinger to Retire in 2013
  • Batavia Residents Invited to Give Feedback For Superintendent Search


Holly Deitchman November 15, 2012 at 05:30 AM
I served in two parts of the interview process since September: a focus group member and as a community stakeholder during the candidate interviews. Though the final vote was placed by the BOE, there was input given by so many individuals. The meetings I attended included representatives from PTO's, BYB, the City, the Park Dist... No pun intended, but I think they made an educated decision. They definitely thought more than twice about who they hired.
John S November 15, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Well, I'm sure they did and I hope for the students of Batavia she will be great. I just find that to be a large jump and thought that the BOE would have at least looked outside the district for someone with experience. Or to say the least, look at someone with district office experience. I have lived in Batavia for a long time and I know that Dr. Barshinger has only hired the best for his district office. I'm still a little shocked that the other candiates didn't have more experience running the district. Maybe we should have looked outside the district. Anyway, I'm sure that even if she does make a mistake Dr. Barshinger has made sure that the district office will run itself. I think only time will tell! Holly, thank you for all you have done on the interview process but I just disagree with this one and I hope I'm wrong.
East Side Johnny November 15, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Let's give Dr Hichens and the BOE credit and congratulations. Dr. Hitchens came to the district as a teacher. She took it upon herself to advance her education to the point where it is now. The District surely assisted in financial aide, In other words, they helped to pay for her advanced education. She has excelled. What employer wouldn't expect that after commiting financial assistance. Imagine the feeling the rest of BEA felt when they found out that the BOE hired from within. I cant speak for others but I would be excited and invigorated by the news if I were a fellow employee. I think this was a well thought out selection. Do we actually beleive, when we are are a top tier school system, that someone from within can't or doesn't have the wherewithall to lead positively into the future? I'm sure that Dr. Barshinger had that in mind when he promoted her to her principle position. He probably had positive input on her selection as well. I beleive the selection is spot on.
D November 27, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Does anyone see a conflict of interest here? They hired an internal candidate, yet they still employed the search firm School Exec Connect, which by the way, Dr. Barshinger is listed on their website as an associate. Anyone?

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