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New East superintendent withdraws from job

East Aurora's new Superintendent Jesse Rodriguez speaks members community Monday's School Board meeting. | Submitted

East Aurora's new Superintendent Jesse Rodriguez speaks to members of the community at Monday's School Board meeting. | Submitted

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Updated: April 3, 2014 6:49AM

AURORA — The Milwaukee Public Schools official who agreed a few weeks ago to serve as East Aurora School District’s next superintendent has reversed his decision and will stay in Milwaukee, the district said Friday.

Jesse Rodriguez was announced as East Aurora’s new superintendent on Feb. 3. He was to replace outgoing Superintendent Jerome Roberts, who retires on March 28.

According to a news release, Rodriguez “has withdrawn his name for consideration to be the next superintendent.” He notified East Aurora on Friday that he plans to stay in Milwaukee Public Schools where he has worked as a regional superintendent overseeing 31 schools for the last year.

“I appreciate how I was welcomed by the Aurora community,” Rodriguez said in the news release. “Unfortunately, my future will not be in Aurora, but this was a unique set of circumstances.”

He did not elaborate on what those circumstances were. Phone calls made Friday to Rodriguez’s office, work and personal cell phones were not returned as of press time.

Matt Hanley, the district’s spokesman, declined to elaborate on the circumstances.

Rodriguez’s contract had yet to be finalized, according to the district, so he is not terminating his contract. His hiring was contingent upon his receiving the proper certification and license to be a superintendent in Illinois.

Two weeks ago Rodriguez said in an interview that he had submitted his paperwork to obtain his provisional Illinois superintendent’s license and was planning to take two exams to get the license.

“It doesn’t look like it will be a problem at all” to get the license, he said at the time.

In that same interview, Rodriguez said he had submitted a proposal to the Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent that outlined transition plan suggestions. In the plan, Rodriguez said, he suggested that May 1 be his first full day at the head of East Aurora.

It was unclear who would lead the district in the month between Rodriguez’ former start date and Roberts’ retirement date. The district had said it was in the process of finalizing transition plans.

The district said Friday that before Roberts retires, the East Aurora School Board will approve an interim superintendent, who will lead the district until a new superintendent is named.

Hanley said he could not elaborate on whether that interim superintendent will be a current district employee.

The School Board will begin its search for another new superintendent “immediately” and will start by reviewing the applications it previously received.

“While we obviously thought [Rodriguez] would be good to lead the district, he is not the only outstanding candidate we met during our search,” School Board President Annette Johnson said in the news release. “In the meantime, we’re fortunate to have a staff in place that will keep the district moving forward.”

Since Rodriguez accepted his position in East Aurora there has been a big change in leadership at Milwaukee Public Schools. It was announced last week that Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Thorton would leave the district after three and a half years at the helm to become the next CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools.

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