Effective Feb. 1, Michael Bregy, superintendent of North Shore School District 112 in the greater Chicago area, will be the new superintendent of the Beverly Hills Unified School District.
The Beverly Hills Unified School District’s board of education unanimously voted at its Dec. 12 meeting to confirm the hire of Bregy.
“I just feel really fortunate,” said Bregy, reached by phone in Illinois, where he is wrapping up his current job before moving to Beverly Hills in January. “This is a great opportunity for me to continue working in a high-performing and engaging community.”
He will begin a three-year contract on Feb. 1 valued at $265,000 in its first year, according to district documents. Each subsequent year, he will be eligible for a 3-percent raise, pending a positive evaluation by the board of education.
The Beverly Hills Unified School District will pay up to $12,000 to buy Bregy out of his current contract at North Shore. It will also pay up to $18,000 to buy him out of his current home lease and up to $10,000 for moving expenses.
Bregy said his biggest challenge at the onset of his employment will be jumping in mid-year.
“I like to establish relationships and get to know staff and students before making decisions,” he said, alluding to the district’s first interim report, which states that the district wants to cut $5 million in expenditures for the 2017-2018 adopted budget.
Before his three-year term as superintendent of North Shore School District 112, Bregy served as superintendent of Community Unit District 300, the sixth-largest school district in Illinois.
“The North Shore area of Chicago is almost a mirror image of Beverly Hills,” said Beverly Hills Unified board member Mel Spitz, serving his first meeting as board president since assuming the position Dec. 7. “Their challenges and opportunities are very similar to ours.”
The North Shore School District 112, which is less than 20 years old, is composed of 12 schools: one pre-K, eight K to 5th grade elementary and three 6th- to 8th-grade middle schools. It serves approximately 4,500 students, according to the district website, compared to approximately 4,200 in the Beverly Hills Unified School District.
Beverly Hills Unified’s current superintendent, Steve Kessler, had already announced his intention to retire. He said he will continue to serve until February – no later than Feb. 9 – as he helps facilitate the transition.
Bregy said he learned about the superintendent opening in Beverly Hills from a professional publication, and the interview process lasted a few weeks before he and the district came to terms. He said a move to California had been on his radar for a while because he has family in the Los Angeles area. His sister will scout homes in Beverly Hills to help expedite his move.
The board also quipped that freezing temperatures in the Chicago area this time of year might have factored into his decision.
Board member Howard Goldstein said he was “delighted to support the appointment,” adding that Bregy “has a reputation as a proven administrator.”
“I’m very delighted we have chosen Dr. Bregy,” said board member Isabel Hacker. “Along those lines, I want to thank Mr. Kessler for your time and service to this board.”
Kessler said he and Bregy have spoken on the phone.
“I think he’ll be a very good fit for our district,” Kessler said. “I’ll work for a very seamless transition.”
After the meeting, Kessler said he felt it was time to retire after a little more than 40 years as an educator. He was also a student in the district from kindergarten through high school.
Kessler said he plans to enjoy his retirement with his wife and four grandchildren, and that he has no plans to work in education again, despite having been contacted by other school districts.
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