OAKWOOD – Larry Maynard, a longtime school administrator in east central Illinois, will become Oakwood’s new superintendent of schools starting July 1.
Maynard will succeed Gary Lewis, who will step down from the Oakwood post July 1 to serve as regional superintendent of schools in Champaign and Ford counties, a position he ran uncontested for during the November general election.
During a special meeting Monday night, the Oakwood school board entered into a three-year contract with Maynard, who has been Potomac Grade School’s superintendent/principal since July 2017. His salary was set at $115,000 for the first year.
A search for Lewis’ successor began last fall. Fourteen initially applied for the Oakwood superintendent job. Those applicants were narrowed down to seven candidates and then eventually to four finalists who were interviewed Jan. 28-29. Maynard was one of two finalists interviewed last week for a second time.
“It’s a very different role than what I am in now at a grade school, but it’s an opportunity I am looking forward to,” Maynard said. “It seemed like a good fit.”
Maynard said he has developed an “entry plan” with Lewis “so we can facilitate a good, healthy transition.”
Maynard’s career in education is lengthy, spanning decades across central Illinois.
“I’ve been very fortunate to work in school districts that have offered different roles,” he said.
Maynard holds a master’s degree in sports administration from Illinois State University and a master’s degree in education administration from Eastern Illinois University. He earned his superintendency endorsements in 2014 from Eastern and the Illinois Association of School Administrators.
Early in his career, he coached at Illinois Wesleyan University, taught and coached at Normal Community High School, and served as head football coach and dean of students at Eureka High School. Later, Maynard taught and coached at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School and Rantoul Township High School and served as principal at Judah Christian School in Champaign before returning to Rantoul Township High School as dean of students and assistant principal for three years.
Maynard came to Vermilion County as principal of Hoopeston Area High School for 10 years before leaving one-and-a-half years ago to succeed Jamie Dorsey who retired in 2017 as Potomac Grade School’s superintendent/principal.
“It’s been an awesome experience to be a superintendent/principal at the grade school. It’s allowed me the opportunity to learn and grow,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best educators in Vermilion County.”
He said he will miss Potomac Grade School’s staff and students, adding, “This place captures a person’s heart.”
Maynard said he and the Potomac Grade school board have “had great communication leading up to this. We’re working on a transition plan, but we haven’t officially posted anything (about the job) yet.”
Maynard and his wife, Tracy, who works as a wellness director for Gibson Area Hospital’s Paxton clinic, have two college-age daughters.
“We’re excited,” he said. “My family is excited and grateful for the opportunity.”