BELLWOOD | As the soil of rumored “corruption” from the previous superintendent lay at rest – the seeds of inspiration are sprouting under the new leadership of Mark Anthony Holder, Interim Superintendent of Bellwood School District 88.
Starting May 9, 2017, Mark Anthony Holder went into the plan of action to move his district forward with a new Board of elected individuals who aim to develop good educators, support parent involvement, and create a partnership between the school district and community. “I consider us the new Bellwood School District on the rise, providing great educational opportunities for our students to excel and be prepared to meet the global world.” Said Mark Holder, Interim Superintendent of Bellwood School District 88.
As most residents already know, District 88 had some major issues with the previous Superintendent of the Bellwood school district. The stint with former Superintendent Rosemary Hendricks aroused suspicion around her business practices including “alleged” fiscal mismanagement. Ms. Hendricks was officially dismissed from the position at a regular Board meeting for Bellwood School District 88 on September 5, 2017.
“We have had some struggles in the past, and we’re putting our struggles behind us. Now we are moving towards our exciting future that’s getting ready to happen here in Bellwood school district 88. Stated the Interim Superintendent Mark Holder. “This particular Board that we have now is comprised of a group of fine citizens who were elected… They have given me all the support that any superintendent could ever want.”
Interim Superintendent Mark Holder is approaching 30 years of service to Bellwood School District 88. He went from being a teacher to the Dean of Students, to the Assistant Principal, then he served as Principal, became Superintendent Assistant, and now Interim Superintendent. He has held a Superintendent license since 2007. “I’m just happy to serve as the Interim Superintendent for right now. Says Mr. Holder. Hopefully, that Interim title will be taken away shortly.”
“He really is the chosen one to lead this district right now, this is his time to do it!” Stated Jeninne Hixson-Rusike, Human Resources Manager for Bellwood School District 88. “About 10 years ago I was actually subbing [substitute teaching] for Mr. Holder, and to hear him and one of the previous superintendents encourage me to go back to school… and go to law school, and to just be here with him during this time – this moment of transition is something really special and I think the community will be very happy and very pleased with what he is spearheading here at the school district.”
Mark Holder created an administrative advisory cabinet to help him lead School District 88 with skill and democracy. The committee includes an assistant superintendent who has served as building administrator for over 20 years, a Principal coach to provide professional development and stakeholders within the system. “My focus was always to create an environment for educators who have endured the system and have been a part of the system, to give them the opportunity to serve and work along with me.” Mr. Holder Stated. “I take pride in reaching back to help those individuals who have helped sustain the school district.”
The New Superintendent has worked hard to change the culture of Bellwood School District 88. Positive changes include the stabilization of the administration, all employees are now qualified to maintain their jobs; each person understands their role, projects are done in collaboration with multiple departments, fiscal affairs are in full compliance, up to date technology has been integrated, and a more welcoming environment for parents and visitors. “Since May, we have probably done more work than has been done in maybe 10 or 15 years or so. Said Superintendent Mark Holder. “We’re excited about progress!”
“Yes, Armed police guards were replaced with a much more relaxed climate… There are still protocols that have to be followed… Says Joseph P. Burdi, Director of Building and Grounds at Bellwood School District 88. “You’re able to go into a school and the Administration Center [but] You have to check in with the receptionist. You can’t just walk through the building. “As far as security is concerned we have surveillance cameras and all that we need right now…” We’ve come a long way due to the new Board, due to the new Interim Superintendent Mr. Holder [he’s] doing a great job!”
“He’s doing a wonderful job in turning the district around through all the obstacles and hurdles he had to endure, he’s done it with professionalism, endurance, and dedication.” Said Patricia Walton, Executive Assistant to the Interim Superintendent Mark Holder. “He’s a leader that I’m sure the parents and community would speak proudly of. I’m thankful that he’s here and I’m looking forward to our continued working relationship in Bellwood School District 88.”
Superintendent Mark Anthony Holder was nominated as one of Illinois Most Outstanding Men, by Children and Youth Services, Inc. and CAT [Continuing Academic Training] “There have been a lot of great things that have happened to me in the year 2017” Superintendent Mark Holder stated. “To be nominated as a distinguished individual of Illinois, I take a lot of pride in that because I work hard and it’s just wonderful when people recognize your work.”