Over the next three months a consulting firm will recruit potential replacements for District 91 Superintendent Randolph Tinder, who is retiring from the post at the end of this school year.

Representatives from Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates in Glenview, Ill., met with community members last week to get their expectations of the incoming administrator. That feedback will ultimately be used to guide the District 91 Board of Education’s hiring decision, President Lois Bugajsky said.

“We’re a small enough community that we would hope we could reach everyone,” Bugajsky said.

Only a handful of residents attended the final open forum held at the Forest Park Middle School, and Andrea Blaylock said the lagging attendance demonstrates a need for more parental involvement in the schools. This, Blaylock said, should be a priority for the new district administrator.

Bonnie Zoolin is the parent of a Garfield School student and the president of that school’s Parent-Teacher Association. Zoolin, too, said parental involvement should be high in the new superintendent’s priorities, but change won’t be easy.

“I think that would be a challenge,” Zoolin said. “You can’t make people get involved.”

Residents listed several qualities they would like to see in Tinder’s replacement, including a hands-on approach, experience in an urban environment and familiarity with grant writing.

“I would urge you to seek out diversity in the candidates,” Terry Steinbach said. Steinbach is a member of the Forest Park Village Council.

Blaylock, who is the wife of board member Sean Blaylock, said she, too, would like to see a cross-section of the population represented in the village’s institutions.

Former D91 superintendent Art Jones is one of the consultants who will recruit prospective hires for the board. By January of 2007, the board will get a list of five candidates, Jones said, and the new superintendent will be announced in February. Jones said his firm will actively recruit potential candidates rather than waiting for resumes. Forest Park’s proximity to Chicago makes it one of the more attractive destinations in the Midwest, Jones said, and he does not anticipate a shortage of qualified applicants.

District 91 is an attractive employer, Bugajsky said, for several reasons.

“We think we have a lot to offer,” Bugajsky said. “We’re in a good position financially and our enrollment is steady.”