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East Aurora superintendent moves up retirement date

Jerome Roberts 57 is entering his eighth final year as superintendent East AurorSchool District. He's spent more than three decades

Jerome Roberts, 57, is entering his eighth and final year as the superintendent of East Aurora School District. He's spent more than three decades working in education and publishing. Kalyn Belsha ~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 12, 2014 6:27AM

AURORA — East Aurora School District’s superintendent has moved up his retirement date by three months, according to district personnel records.

Jerome Roberts asked the school board to move up his retirement date from June 30 to March 28 “to allow the next superintendent to start as soon as possible,” district spokesman Matt Hanley wrote in an email.

The school board approved the date change at their Feb. 3 meeting. That same day, they approved Jesse Rodriguez, a regional superintendent for Milwaukee Public Schools, as East Aurora’s next superintendent.

Rodriguez’ contract is still being negotiated and his appointment is subject to his receiving the proper license to be a superintendent in Illinois.

The school board and the administration are working “to finalize the plans for the transition to Jesse Rodriguez starting his tenure here,” Hanley wrote.

Rodriguez said on Monday that he holds a superintendent’s license in Wisconsin and is in the process of submitting paperwork to the state and the Kane County Regional Office of Education — also known as the ROE — to work toward receiving a provisional superintendent’s license for Illinois.

“We’re ahead of the game,” Rodriguez said. “The ROE will examine everything that I’m sending, as far as my credentials… It doesn’t look like it will be a problem at all.”

Rodriguez said he and East Aurora submitted a letter to the ROE requesting a rush on the process.

The ROE will determine if any additional coursework may be needed, Rodriguez added. He said he knows already that he has to take two exams before he receives a license, one to test his academic proficiency and one to test his content knowledge about being a superintendent.

Rodriguez said he had already scheduled a time to take the content exam on Feb. 24.

Rodriguez said in addition to his superintendent’s license, in Wisconsin he holds current licenses to teach Spanish history at the secondary level and serve as a principal and director of instruction.

Rodriguez said he recently submitted a proposed plan to the superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools that outlines transition suggestions. In that proposed plan, he said, he suggested April 30 be his last full day in Milwaukee and May 1 his first full day in East Aurora.

Rodriguez said his plan is to move to Aurora by himself temporarily, while his wife, who is a teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools, and his children finish out the school year. They would follow later this year, he said.

“We are ready to do this,” he said. “Right now the focus is me moving to Aurora and engaging with the Aurora community, and then they will follow at the appropriate time.”

Rodriguez said he will be involved in helping train his successor at Milwaukee Public Schools to “ensure a smooth start.”

Rodriguez said there is the option to work part-time for both Milwaukee Public Schools and East Aurora during the transition time, but that it wouldn’t be the ideal situation.

“I am of the belief there will be a short transition,” he said.

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