Peoria Public School leaders are justifying a potentially controversial hire.
Superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat says they interviewed four candidates for the assistant principal job at Calvin Coolidge Middle School before selecting former Charter Oak Primary School Principal John Wetterauer.
“He was by far the top candidate receiving the most points,” Kherat said.
Wetterauer resigned after being placed on administrative leave in 2013 for an alleged standardized testing cheating scandal.
Kherat says a committee, including the principal of Calvin Coolidge, conducted the interviews and oversaw the selection process. She says she conducted the necessary research on the well-documented investigation against Wetterauer before making the hire.
“We reviewed the reports that were given by the firm. We had telephone conversations with the attorney,” she explained.
She strongly endorsed Wetterauer, saying she’s known him for more than fifteen years.
“Not just as a colleague, but also as a parent, “she said. “What I’ve seen is a man who is dedicated, a servant leader who is passionate about kids. He will take this district to the next level.”
Kherat ensured there won’t be a similar scandal with Wettrauer at Calvin Coolidge, even if he oversees test scores.
“I can almost guarantee you, with all of this commotion and experience, which has been very stressful, he will probably not make that same mistake again,” Kherat said. “There was no discipline for cheating and he was not terminated. He resigned.”
Kherat says this hire is both about choosing the right person for the job and moving on from an ugly chapter in the district’s history.
The controversy surrounding Wetterauer nearly four years ago caused an uproar among his supporters, which included parents, teachers and the teachers’ union.
The action created friction between the community and former Superintendent Grenita Lathan. She resigned in 2015, the day before the newly seated school board was about to discuss her possible future with the District.
Wetterauer is scheduled to begin at Calvin Coolidge January 30.