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Vance ascends to top spot in Morrison

High school principal will become superintendent at end of school year

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

MORRISON – Scott Vance has been moving up the ranks in the Morrison school district. On Monday, he moved to the top.

The Morrison school board announced during its meeting that Vance will be the district’s new superintendent when Suellen Girard retires at the end of the school year.

Vance, 39, has been principal at Morrison High School for 4 years, but has worked for the district for 14, he said. Before becoming principal, he taught, coached, and served as athletic director.

Girard has long made it clear that 2014 would be her final spring as district superintendent, though she has no plans to leave the area.

As she told Sauk Valley Media in a previous interview, “We love it here,” she said. “This is a community I really felt a connection with.”

Vance, originally from Rock Falls, earned his undergraduate degree at Iowa State University, and is working on receiving his superintendent’s certificate at Western Illinois University.

The board noted during Monday’s meeting that it was aware of this going into offering him the position, and so will hire an interim who will come in to work until Vance is officially qualified.

There’s no word yet on whom that interim person might be, but Vance is expected to take leadership by the start of the next school year.

Girard’s last day will be May 29; Vance’s contract begins the next day.

To find a sucessor, the board hired a search firm to do a nationwide search that yielded about 30 applicants. The firm then brought in seven candidates for the board to interview. Vance was one of three finalists.

He was offered the job after a third round of interviews, and, in his words, would be lying if he said he wasn’t surprised.

“Anytime you apply for a job and actually get it, it’s somewhat of a surprise,” he said. “I was confident that I’d done the best that I could in terms of the interview process, and was fortunate enough to be rewarded with a job offer.”

Among the things Vance said he wants to improve within the district is preparing students for career and technical education.

“We need to continue doing a good job preparing our kids for college, but we also need to work with those kids who who may not be 4-year-bound, who are vocational-school-bound, or technical-school-bound,” he said.

He’s also big on working on getting parents engaged in their child’s education.

“We see a lot of parent engagement at the lower levels, but we need to increase that overall,” he said. “And that’s something the board and I have discussed.”

Vance is married with three kids.

His wife, Danielle, has a career in health care administration, but is working as a stay-at-home mom for now. Two of their children are in the school system right now: Elizabeth, 6, Gianna, 3. Jackson is 10 months old.

“So, I’m pretty invested in what’s going on,” Vance said, laughing. “Not just in the high school, but in the lower levels as well.

“I can’t think of a better job right now.”

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