Dr. Sonntag

Dear Hinckley-Big Rock Community,

As members of the Hinckley-Big Rock School Board, we would like to provide you with an update regarding the superintendent search that has been underway since January. We are pleased to share the progress we have made and the outcome of our diligent efforts to find the best candidate to lead our district.

To ensure an objective and thorough search process, we engaged the services of School Exec Connect, an external search firm. Their expertise and objectivity have been invaluable in identifying and evaluating potential candidates who possess the necessary qualifications and vision to serve as our superintendent.

We greatly appreciate the active participation and input from our community members throughout this search. More than 160 responses were received through the community survey, allowing us to understand your priorities, aspirations, and concerns. Your feedback played a significant role in creating a comprehensive profile for the ideal superintendent candidate.

Additionally, we conducted focused discussions in various focus groups comprising over sixty faculty members, parents, students, and community members. These conversations provided us with valuable insights and perspectives, helping us refine our criteria and requirements for the position.

Using the input gathered from the community survey and focus groups, we screened and evaluated a pool of sixteen highly qualified candidates. This initial screening process allowed us to identify six finalists who demonstrated the best alignment with our district's needs and values.

The six finalists underwent rigorous screening and were interviewed by both the school board and a dedicated staff interview team. These interviews provided us with an in-depth understanding of each candidate's leadership style, educational expertise, and ability to effectively address the challenges faced by our district.

We are delighted to announce that our own Dr. Jessica Sonntag, currently serving as our Assistant Superintendent, emerged as the top candidate. After comprehensive interactions involving both the staff interview group and the school board, Dr. Sonntag clearly stood out as the front-runner by both groups. Her exceptional qualifications, leadership abilities, and deep understanding of our district were evident throughout the selection process. Her dedication to our students' welfare and her commitment to academic excellence further solidified her position as the ideal candidate for the superintendent role at HBR.

Selecting an internal candidate brings its own advantages, as Dr. Sonntag is already familiar with the intricacies of our district, its strengths, and areas for improvement. Her experience within our community and district ensures a smooth transition and builds upon the foundation she has established while serving as Director of Student Services and most recently as Assistant Superintendent.

While internal candidates may have a familiarity advantage, we took great care to maintain objectivity throughout the selection process. Our external search firm provided an unbiased perspective and conducted thorough evaluations of all candidates, including Dr. Sonntag, to ensure that the best candidate was selected based on merit and qualifications. 

We are confident that Dr. Sonntag's appointment as our superintendent will bring continued progress and success to the Hinckley-Big Rock School District. Her dedication to our students' welfare, collaborative leadership style, and commitment to academic excellence make her an exceptional choice for this role.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all community members, staff, and stakeholders who participated in this search process. Your valuable contributions helped shape our decision, ensuring that our superintendent is chosen with the best interests of our students and community in mind.

We look forward to the continued success and growth of our district under Dr. Sonntag's leadership. Please join us in extending a warm welcome and support to her as she embarks on this exciting new journey. Her excitement for this new role and the opportunity to work with the wonderful staff of HBR is evident in the words she shares with all of you:

I am incredibly excited and deeply honored to have been chosen as the next superintendent of our outstanding school district. I would like to express my gratitude to the Board of Education for placing their trust in me for this significant role. HBR holds a special place in my heart, as it embodies tradition, family, relationships, and service in a genuinely remarkable way. Since beginning my journey here 5 years ago, I have truly felt at home, and I consider it the greatest privilege to lead this exceptional district toward even greater heights for the benefit of our students and communities. Your input is invaluable as we renew our vision and purpose. I look forward to working collaboratively with our dedicated staff, students, families, and community members to achieve this greatness.

Thank you for your ongoing support and trust in the Hinckley-Big Rock Board of Education as we seek to provide the best educational experience for our students and community.

HBR Board of Education