PHOTO: Bill Gilkerson
By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
Saying he is “proud of the district right now,” Bill Gilkerson is stepping down as principal of Monticello Middle School, effective July 31 of this year.
Gilkerson, who will be 57 when his contract is up July 31, said the final decision was made about five weeks ago.
“It’s a very positive situation,” Gilkerson said. “It wasn’t in any way forced or coerced. It was just good timing for me. I wanted to do it when it was good for the district and good for me.”
Asked about his plans, he said, “I’m pursuing a couple of options. Let’s leave it at that,” he said. “New challenges are always good.”
He spent 17 years as principal of the district, and prior to that was a teacher in the Bellevue school district for 17 years.
“I’m very proud of the district right now,” he said. “We have tremendous curriculum and technology. I think we have a great administration team and a great staff.”
Gilkerson said he believes a future concern of the district is replacing the current middle school building, which is nearly 100 years old.
“That is one area I shared with the board,” Gilkerson said. “We need a new facility for the middle school. It’s important for our students to have the best facility possible.”
Bill and his wife Suzy have two grown children: Lauren, who is a supervisor with the Kohl’s clothing store chain in Peoria, Ill., and will be married this summer; and Phil, who teaches social studies at Monticello High School.
Asked what he would miss, Gilkerson said, “Enjoying work, and what we are accomplishing together. I’m a big believer that education is a marathon, not a sprint race. Every day is important, so we’re working hard every day.”
He said he is looking forward to his retirement from the district.
”Again, it’s a very positive, positive move. I think people were caught off guard, but it’s all good,” Gilkerson said. “My biggest concern was having the timing right so it’s a smooth transition. I think they will have an excellent pool of candidates.”