Culver gets $75,000 in settlement with Unit 4

CHAMPAIGN — Arthur Culver will receive $75,000 as part of a settlement with the Champaign school district, an agreement that has been in the works for months.

Under the terms of the eight-page settlement agreement, obtained by The News-Gazette through a Freedom of Information Act request, Culver agreed to step down as of June 30, and the district will continue to pay his monthly health insurance premium through Sept. 30 unless he gets another job.

The agreement says Culver and the Unit 4 school board "agree not to make derogatory or disparaging comments, or negative references, with respect to the other party."

The agreement further states that any inquiries from prospective employers will be answered consistent with the terms of a mutually agreed-upon letter of reference; and that the community was to be notified about Culver's resignation through a joint press release.

The Champaign school board approved the settlement agreement Monday and announced his resignation on Tuesday.

Culver has been open in the past few weeks about his desire to move on. He was a finalist for a superintendent job in the DeKalb County school system in metropolitan Atlanta, but he withdrew his name from consideration for that job Monday.

He is leaving Champaign without a job in hand, and with three years remaining on his employment contract with the district. There have been rumblings for several months about his potential departure from the district.

School board President Dave Tomlinson said the settlement agreement has been in the works "for a few months."

"Both the board and the superintendent agreed that it was time for new leadership," he said. "The board and the superintendent think many great things have happened, (successfully ending) the consent decree particularly, but it's time to build on those foundations, re-energize and move forward."

Culver's contract states that it may be terminated by mutual agreement of the school board and the superintendent. It does not specify any severance pay or other compensation for the superintendent if the contract is terminated.

"It's absolutely common practice, when boards and superintendents decide to go their separate ways, there is a buyout," Tomlinson said. "This buyout is very small."

The $75,000 payout Culver will receive is about 30 percent of his annual salary of $246,851. (He also receives a $3,000 annual stipend for cell phone charges and mileage.)

At a press conference on Tuesday, Tomlinson emphasized all the successes the district has had during the nine years of Culver's leadership.

But Culver and his administrative team have met with resistance and mistrust from the public during their tenure. Some of that has been a reaction to the requirements placed on the district by a federal consent decree aimed at eliminating inequities in the education of black and white students, and the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Culver, superintendent since 2002, was brought to the district to close the achievement gap between black and white students, and get the district through a federal consent decree, which ended in 2009.

Culver has also been criticized for not having enough of a presence in the community. One of the original performance goals of his contract specifies that Culver will provide leadership for the district to better communicate with the public and "will be a visible part of the community."

When the school board evaluated Culver in 2008, it emphasized the expectation that all the district's senior administrators would be heavily involved in the community.

There have been several instances in the past months of complaints related to Culver.

Some board members have expressed concern about Culver's contract and the length of his work year. His contract calls for fewer days of work than most area superintendents and other upper-level school administrators in Champaign.

Culver's contract states his work year consists of work days Monday through Friday, 12 months per year, for 240 days per year. That is 20 fewer work days than the 260 days required of other 12-month administrators. The contract provides 20 vacation days and two days of personal leave, as well as professional leave and sick leave. In an accounting of his time off from July 2009 through October 2010, obtained by The News-Gazette, Culver said he has 20 "non-work days" in addition to the 20 vacation days.

Tomlinson said there have been persistent rumors in the community about Culver related to finances and harassment.

"Those rumors are absolutely untrue," Tomlinson said, adding there have been no such accusations concerning Culver brought to the board.

"There are people that like Arthur. There are people that don't like Arthur," Tomlinson said. "We can't ignore the fact that our schools are in a much different place than they were. And that a lot of the community believes it's time to move on.

"As members of the board, our job is to look at the data of what happened (in the district), merge that with community input, and make decisions based on what we believe is best for the district," he continued. "That's what we collectively the seven of us (board members) and Arthur did in this case."

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787 wrote on April 29, 2011 at 9:04 am

Culver gets $75,000 to quit and walk away?

He QUIT... It should be "bye-bye."

Thanks to the school board for squandering more of the taxpayer's money. Thanks a lot, folks.

cretis16 wrote on April 29, 2011 at 10:04 am

If the employment contract calls for no settlement money...why does the school board insist on giving this employee 75K? Another example of government wasting money....hey, it's no big deal...we'll just tax some more if we get short on cash.

mankind wrote on April 29, 2011 at 10:04 am

So this agreement has been in the works in the back room for a few months. What other important matters concerning our kids is the school board hiding? And how many other people are being paid to shut up or talk nice about school business? I say it's time for some board members to feel the voters' feet in their rear.

sueo wrote on April 29, 2011 at 10:04 am

Can someone PLEASE explain why he gets $75,000 to quit his job?

bremax wrote on April 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Because he has three years left on his contract, and we don't want him around here anymore. So, we are paying him to go away. It sounds like a lot of money, but compared with the additional damage from three more years of Culver's mismanagement, it is a bargain.

Conspicuous wrote on April 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm
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My guess is that Culver was ready to move on because his son graduated last year. Add to that the dissatisfaction within the community in his work, arrogance, and obvious disregard for public opinion, and it makes for a valid time for him to go.

The buy out is cheap, but his pay was already higher than the norm. He should have been thanked, and then sent on his merry way without a check. Time to seriously consider who we re-elect for the school board next time.

CopyJock wrote on April 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I have been unhappy with Champaign Public Schools for years. I have grown tired of the "politics as usual" in this state... Six years ago, when I was living out in Oregon, a large community terminated their contract with their superintendent. Why? Because he wasn't doing his job as was stated in his contract. Neither was this guy (not being a presence in the community). However, here we are, almost rid of him (he draws pay through June, and health care through September), paying him $75,000. The guy in Oregon left with nothing. Nothing.

RRRight wrote on April 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm

come on

Terminate $150,000 in legal fees and maybe lose in court and pay $750,000 contract remaining.
Say quit $75,000 and done
Get a clue people

sniff sniff wrote on April 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Mr. Culver "dropped out" of DeKalb because the general feedback from the candidate forum complained he was rambling, unfocused, had no clear vision, answered around questions and besides being boring it was thought he had a speech impediment. That last comment was interesting given this is coming from a region filled with southern-drawls and vernacular and even they weren't able to get their heads around Mr. Culver's lack of articulation. Other comments said he made grammatical errors and had no knowledge about the District, including the controversy and division between the north and south sides of their District. Out of the some 85+ submissions, the one most telling was the shock of one of the audience observers who wrote Mr. Culver stated, "Even our African-American students have a high graduation rate." 'Even'? What does that qualifier mean? Because the DeKalb process was transparent, all communication, forms, applications and the streaming video of the candidate's presentation are found at:
http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/search
What I found interesting was, who in DeKalb gave Mr. Culver a heads-up to the comments made at the forum on March 31, 2011, prompting an email from Mr. Culver to the DeKalb BOE at 11:30pm on March 31, 2011 and that was followed by a well laid out 7-page vision plan Mr. Culver submitted (as promised in his 11:30pm email to the board) which had the same March 31, 2011 date printed on its cover. It seems Mr. Culver was still in GA, so was Unit 4 staff assembling this quick turn around? Was this work being paid for by the taxpayers of Unit 4? What employee(s) prepared this? In fact, were Unit 4 taxpayers paying for all of the costs (including travel and hotel) related to the DeKalb job application in addition to the $75,000 buy out?

cretis16 wrote on April 29, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Thank you...Now that's the kind of NEWS this story needs....Thanks again, for filing in all the glaring holes! Oustanding report!!!

sniff sniff wrote on April 29, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Culver wearing academic regalia he hasn't earned! When does this farse end?!!!

I have no idea where I was or how I missed this from 2009 but Mr. Culver is wearing the academic regalia from the University of Houston where he claimed on his application to DeKalb that he was an ABD (though I question even that), but for him to actually wear the regalia without earning a doctorate is absurd!

http://www.news-gazette.com/image/2009-05-07/photo-13181.html#comment-94316

Here is the URL that shows the academic regalia for those who have actually gotten their doctorate from University of Houston:

http://colleges.herffjones.com/college/regalia/index2.cfm?at=4&con=4&id=...

Come on News-Gazette! How could you give a pass on this? Mr. Culver is looking more and more like the Great Impostor. Will the real Arthur Ray Culver please stand up?

sniff sniff wrote on April 29, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Mr. Culver appears to have falsified answer on his DeKalb GA application to Ray and Associates
(application found on http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/search)

#5 Have you ever been involved, or are you currently involved or do you anticipate involvement in litigation either as the plaintiff/complainant or defendant respondent

Mr. Culver's answer:
When an employee is charged, he or she may file a lawsuit. The suit generally names the Superintendent and the Board of Education as defendants. I have been named as co-defendant in such a suit. I am not named as the defendant/respondent or plaintiff/complainant in any pending litigation.

It seems Mr. Culver forgot about:
1) In a suit filed in Fort Bend IN, Mr. Culver was was specifically named as the person directly responsible, not just administratively because he holds the title:
http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/333/555/603192/

June 5, 2003/ 333 F.3d 555: Patsy Finch, Plaintiff-appellee, v. Fort Bend Independent School District, et al., Defendants,don Hooper, Individually and in His Official Capacity; Arthur Culver, Individually and in His Official Capacity, Defendants-appellants

2) In Champaign, IL Mr. Culver was was specifically named as the person directly responsible, not just administratively because he holds the title:
DETAILS of suit:
http://www.news-gazette.com/news/other/2004-02-22/coach-spins-tough-exit...

CIVIL CASE LOOKUP FOR CASE #04L 000059
Respondent CULVER ARTHUR
Petitioner ANDERSON TODD

quincy2 wrote on April 29, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I looked up the lawsuits you mentioned. Both were in relation to his employement with a school district. It doesn't matter if his name is used. He was sued because of the employment action of a school district. No false answer on the application. The board's agreement also says that he can't talk about the board. What is there to tell? If the board wants him to go, he should go, but don't claim that the district has been mismanaged. If News Gazette reports are right, U4 has done a good job of managing money under Culver and has a great building program going on . Dave Tomlinson said that all of the rumors about Culver were false. Sooo, did they pay him so that he wouldn't sue them?

sniff sniff wrote on April 30, 2011 at 2:04 am

The DeKalb application was not about semantics. The last superintendent (Lewis) of Dekalb was up on racketeering. The one before was in the Superintendents office for a hot minute and because of pending grievances and performance they made a payout of, I believe, $500,000.

To oversimplify, without legalese, when filing a grievance against a person who has wronged you while that person is acting as the representative of a company/corp it is standard to include the company/corp and any other related individuals who may be directly responsible for being in a position to have stopped the issue that damaged the complainant (you) as well as naming the person you are directly accusing. The reason you do this is to ensure you are suing the entity/individual that is legally suable not just the individual who wronged you. Unfortunately, just because a specific person damaged you, they may be protected under their contract or other loopholes that if you only sued them, your case could get dismissed. Example: if a doctor has removed a leg but was supposed to have removed a finger, a person files against the doctor and names any person who could have stopped the act itself in addition to the hospital, the name of corporation who owns the hospital, etc. Again, the reason is to ensure the damages are paid by whatever source is responsible, and able, to pay the amount of damages being asked.

However, Mr. Culver stated on his DeKalb ap that he has never been named as the person directly being accused, only named by way of legal procedure because he is the Superintendent and responsible for the decisions made Districtwide. Therefore Mr. Culver stated he expects to be named on employees grievances and suits though he is not directly involved.

In the two cases cited for Mr. Culver the person in Forth Worth filed alleging Mr. Culver had direct involvement in her complaint (for those interested details are found on the URL given in previous post) It’s not clear why the woman’s lawyer did not include the Fort Bend School District, which would have been normal procedure. The Todd Anderson law suit was well publicized in the N-G that Mr. Culver was the person Mr. Anderson was suing for damages for abuse of authority.

When Mr. Culver answered the DeKalb question he was fully aware he was being cagy. As for rumors that linger about pending grievances against Mr. Culver being the basis of his forced resignation, unless anyone is able to provide evidence to the contrary, no one is in a position to negate those rumors, especially if those actions are currently being discussed in closed door settlement negotiations and never disclosed to the public.

Moving on, the cagy answer to #5 on DeKalb’s application is in keeping with Mr. Culver’s pattern of deception, i.e. wearing academic regalia not earned and going to apply in another District under false pretenses to both our community and DeKalb’s.

quincy2 wrote on April 30, 2011 at 5:04 pm

You are linking a news story about a disgruntled coach, not the facts of the suit. The suit was against Culver and others because the coach lost his job. I checked it. Culver was sued as superintendent along with other administrators when the coach was removed. Check the outcome of that case. U4 won, judge awarded plaintiff 0. Culver answered the Dekalb application that he was named in employment suits. So far, you haven't named anything about a suit that didn't involve an employee of a school district suing him and the school district. I'm not a lawyer, and you don't seem to be one either, but it is clear he told the truth. He said he had been named in employment suits. If he had said he had never been named in a suit, that would be a lie.
The photo of him in the academic robe was taken at a Centennial graduation. EVERYONE on the stage, including the school board, wore the regalia. They were asked where they graduated, NOT where they got a doctorate when Centennial ordered the robes/insignia. As far as I know, none of the board has a doctorate, and they all wore the robes and regalia because they were asked to by the school. This is real "birther" stuff to attack Culver over that. Get over it. How many times does the guy have to say that he did the course work for a doctorate, but didn't finish the degree.
The man has resigned. Some are really sad, some are really happy. But, he finished the consent decree, improved finances, improved the graduation rate, and the principals respect him (at least the ones I know do). Ask them. I swore that I wasn't going to look at these hater comments anymore, but fair is fair. By the by, David Tomlinson said that there was no truth to the rumors. Is that a good enough source?

carterjac wrote on April 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Congratulations to all Unit 4 board members for obtaining their doctorates too!!!! Everyone had on their robes with the academic regalia! Shame on you! This is a good example of your"sniff sniff" professional research.. Where is the true pattern of deception! Perhaps it is in your email postings sniff sniff!

sniff sniff wrote on April 30, 2011 at 11:04 pm

I would seriously hope people don't run around wearing academic regalia they did not earn. This was a graduation ceremony for Unit 4, not a Halloween gathering. If all of the Board wore academic regalia, I would hope those who actually graduated from either Parkland or a College, wore the appropriate regalia for the degree they "earned" not the one they hope one day to achieve.

For those who don't know Mr. Anderson, he is a Champaign Fireman and parent. Mr. Anderson offered to coach in his spare time, along with other volunteer services for the children of Unit 4 whenever he could manage, in between fighting fires, and received numerous awards for those services.

Mr. Culver has a history of abusing his authority over coaches his sons did not get along with, beginning in Longview, TX. You can either look at it as a series of coincidences, a bunch of disgruntled employees, or a pattern of bad behavior, "winning!"

Whether you are a cheerleader for Mr. Culver or a member of the majority who have offered to help escort him to the Champaign County line, Mr. Culver doesn't care which side you are standing on because he is smiling all the way to the bank with all of our money. Actually, between Longview Tx's pension and Champaign IL's pension, Mr. Culver can retire quite happily.

Yep, Mr. Culver will be leaving behind all of our debates about his pros and cons, as well as all of the grievances our BOE must make settlement agreements to that can't be FOIA'd but that have already begun to impact Unit 4s budget with program, faculty and staff cuts...and...then, there are those Bonds Mr. Craig Walker sold our District. That was before Mr. Walker admitted publicly he was a felon, and could be seen on any given night toasting the town with his good buddy, Mr. Culver.

So, as the night comes to a close...let's recap, Mr. Culver is forced to resign (because he was doing such a fabulous job) and the same day Mr. Culver resigns, Mr. Tomlinson resigns as BOE president...what a touché moment that was. The claim of being ABD nine years ago...though no records of such have ever been presented or PhD completed so I guess wearing the academic regalia for a PhD was the next best thing to having actually earned one. Being creative and cagey on his DeKalb application (aka escape plan) and DeKalb citizens critiquing him publicly as they laughed him out of town...the way we should have, nine years ago...or at least, somewhere in between renewing his contract(s).

My final word on this nonsense, Shame On Every Board Member Who voted to hire Mr. Culver against the community's protest because he was the weakest candidate and every Board Member who renewed his contract(s) ever since. My purpose with this entertaining dialogue is not so much to bash Mr. Culver's performance as much as to make sure citizens are informed, regardless of those who try to dilute those facts, so we don't repeat these mistakes, or allow the BOE to, ever again.

sniff sniff wrote on May 01, 2011 at 12:05 am

Several posters have defended Mr. Culver as an ABD. I would like to invite them to prove me wrong with facts, of which they have only given personal opinion on how they have interpreted documents presented. Let's just take one of the facts:
Mr. Culver has "claimed" he is ABD. I challenge him or anyone to present this nine-year-old myth before he leaves town. That gives him two months (60 days) to do so.

For those not familiar with the term, ABD (All But the Dissertation) is an unofficial term identifying a stage in the process of obtaining a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree or equivalent research doctorate (EdD, EngD, ScD, etc).

If Mr. Culver is ABD as he stated when he was first introduced nine years ago to parents at South Side by then president of the BOE Scott Anderson, this would mean at that time (2002) Mr. Culver would have completed his preparatory coursework, taken his qualifying examinations, taken his comprehensive examinations, and defended his dissertation proposal leaving only to complete the proposed research which must be original research and write the dissertation that defines a PhD or equivalent research doctorate.

At that introduction at South Side (2002) Mr. Anderson said Mr. Culver would be completing his doctorate prior to taking the position (which was about 2 months from the time of intro). The reason Mr. Anderson was so animated about this was that a doctorate was required by all candidates applying and all but Mr. Culver (who also happened to be the least qualified and experienced) had one.

Yet Mr. Culver said on his DeKalb ap in 2011 that he "completed his coursework" for a doctorate. That means he allegedly took some classes which is only the beginning of a doctoral program. This also means that nine years ago Mr. Culver lied to us and he was hired based on that lie.

With all of these versions/stages of an alleged ABD being claimed by Mr. Culver, it makes me wonder did he even enroll in the University of Houston's PhD program? If so, how long was he enrolled? Who were named on the committee that was to hear him defend his dissertation?

Conspicuous wrote on May 01, 2011 at 10:05 am
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My concern with Culver has always been his high-handed methods and his inability to work as a team member with the school board. He has always acted as though the school board was there to do his bidding rather than that he worked for them (and the public). I'm happy to see him go, and I hope that this time the school board hires someone who is into the job as a teammate, and not a "superior".

As for the rest, I just don't care. He's been here nine years. He's forced his plans through, and the schools are no worse for it (though it's questionable how much better they are for it). Whether he's done so with a PhD or not seems irrelevant now, as he's leaving. His disagreements with coaches are over (more evidence of his high-handed methods), his disregard for the school board that kept giving him his job: it's all done now.

Arrogance is never attractive, but especially in someone who's job is to be a part of the community (and to answer to that same community).

sniff sniff wrote on May 01, 2011 at 11:05 am

Though I agree with your overall assessment, I do not believe the past mistakes are irrelevant to where we are going if we want to be assured we don't repeat those mistakes in the future. No different than we continue to dissect, debate and discuss the Shoah or Slavery in America.

However, in keeping with this Sunday's optimism, there may be one bright moment in the last nine-year deterioration, disjointing, and distrust between the community and the District...we can look forward to BOE members Sue Grey as the president and lead point person for the superintendent search and Greg Novak whose no nonsense approach to education and District policy, as well as his belief the life-line of any educated community is that teachers have a voice in those decisions, I can make my way to prayer this morning with a renewed faith that God does work for the good.

quincy2 wrote on May 01, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Wow, sniffy, you really have a grudge. You won't admit that your posting was wrong when you accused Culver of falsely wearing insignia that he did not earn. Centennial asked everyone to wear insignia from their their last college on their robes. They have done it for at least 3 years. None of the admin/board on the stage had doctorates. That wasn't the reason for the robes/insignia. You won't admit you are wrong about Culver telling the truth on his Georgia application. He said he was sued by employees. ALL superintendents are sued by employees if they do anything. Todd Anderson was a coach for U4 (employee). Anderson lost the case and got $0, but you won't bother to mention that either. I don't have a problem with Conspicuous saying that Culver was high handed. That is C's opinion, and he/she is entitled to it. I don't care if you think he didn't work as a team with the board. I don't know about that, and neither does anyone who isn't on the board. Maybe Conspicuous is on the board or talks to them. That's ok. Let's just tell the truth. The truth is and will always be consent decree is over, graduation rate is up, finances are in better shape, and we are getting new buildings. You don't have to like Culver, but don't deny what the district has done.
Glad you are impressed with Grey and Novack. Time will tell. All I have heard is that Novack was a librarian at Jefferson, and they like the one they have now a lot better. Heard he was UNION president, and they like the one they have now better. Hope he remembers that he is elected for the kids and not the adults and their contract. Old habits may be hard to break. Grey has her hands full. Posts like yours will hurt us in trying to get a new superintendent. Who in their right mind would want to do what Culver has done and be treated this way.

Dave Tomlinson wrote on May 02, 2011 at 11:05 am

Pesky Facts.

Sorry to burst your bubble

Sniff Sniff posted a picture of Mr Culver from graduation... What the picture failed to show was the actual robe. From herff jones website if you look there are different robes with the same hood. that was a masters level robe. You know the goofy one with the tails on the arms and no stripes like for a phd with the Univ hood. Board members with Masters degrees (like the superintendent had the same robe) with regalia from their school (Mine was from EIU where I got my MS). The only board member who had a different robe were the board members who had BS degrees and the one that has the JD (lockman).

Sniff you are absolutely wrong about the regalia with Mr culver and the rest of the board.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

My "resignation" Board officer positions are changed every two years by board policy. I served as VP for one year when scott anderson stepped down (Huh kinda like I just did) before his term was up and I was Pres for four years (two seperate 2 year terms appointed by the board members). When a community election for board members happens, the new board appoints its officers and the Board votes to approve them. When a nomination occurs, the individual nominated has to accept. I am not running for reelection in 2013 so I said to the board members in an email... do not nominate me as I will not accept as I would have stepped down before th two year term would have been up. Why not let a new person lead the search. One who will be there for four more years to work with the new sup closely.

I rarely read them nor will I reply to this post so have at it...

As I always I am fine having conversations based on fact. 217-202-6841 or tomlindw@comcast.net

dave tomlinson

sniff sniff wrote on May 04, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Okay--enough of the silly season comments. Tomlinson already admitted he nor anyone else (Culver, Staff or BOE) can make disparaging comments about Culver or his departure so go back to your hose Mr. Tomlinson, I think I smell a fire...well...maybe just more smoke (and mirrors).

Now back to facts:
It seems Mr. Culver won't be the only one packing in a two pensions (Longview and Champaign)

Longview News-Journal June 21, 2002
LISD spokeswoman Beth Shepperd also has been offered a position with the Champaign school district, and has submitted her resignation to LISD.
The resignation is effective Nov. 6, though with personal and vacation days, Shepperd said she doubts she will be here that long.
Shepperd will formally be able to retire in Texas in November. She was offered a contract in Champaign with an annual salary of $93,000, about $12,000 more than she makes with LISD.

sniff sniff wrote on May 04, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Another important question for the BOE, "Is Dorland packing her bags to? She seems to have been tied to the hip with Mr. Culver since Fort Bend, IN. Cozy couple they are.

Longview News-Journal June 21, 2002:
Norris has been with LISD for the past three years. She came to Longview with Culver from Fort Bend ISD.

The Champaign school district offered Norris a contract earlier this month with an annual salary of $109,000, almost $20,000 more than she made with Longview.

Norris said she has enjoyed her time with LISD and will miss the district and community.

sniff sniff wrote on May 04, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I forgot to address the Academic Regalia issue. You were absolutely correct. It was a Master's robe. I see the full garment was not shown to make an accurate distinction. Silly me, I guess I keep mixing up Culver's claim that he was getting his Doctorate back in March and April of 2002 along with Scott Anderson's claim that Mr. Culver only had a month before actually receiving that Doctorate when Mr. Culver was introduced to us as our new Superintendent at Southside. For those too young to remember, or had no interest back then, here's an except from the April 8, 2002 N-G:

Champaign schools chief picked
News-Gazette, The (Champaign-Urbana, IL) - Monday, April 8, 2002
Author/Byline: DIANE HAAG, News-Gazette Staff Writer
CHAMPAIGN - A Texan known for his work in closing the achievement gap between minority and white students will be the new Champaign schools superintendent.

Board President Scott Anderson expects the board to approve a contract with Arthur Culver , now the superintendent in Longview, Texas, at tonight's regular board meeting at 7 p.m. at the Mellon Administrative Center, 703 S. New St.

"I'm just thrilled to death and elated to be the lone finalist," Culver said. "My wife and I were just really impressed with the board of trustees and equally impressed with staff and community members that we met, and the city seems to be one that's progressive, clean and conducive to raising a family."

Culver , 47, will begin work on July 1. Details of the contract, which includes a $200,000 salary, will be released at the meeting.
...
In the next few months, Culver hopes to make at least one trip to the area to get acquainted with the district.

He will also complete work on his doctorate from the University of Houston, where he also received his master's degree.

He received his bachelor's degree at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Mich.

Culver has worked in Texas since 1977, when he took a job in Houston as a teacher and coach.

Culver spent time as a principal, director of elementary programs and an area superintendent in a large district.

Having grown up in Michigan, Culver was looking to move back to the Midwest to be closer to his family. He and his wife, Annetta, have three sons, aged 18, 16 and 10.

Interim Superintendent Carol Stack, who did not apply for the top position, will continue in that role until July 1, when she is guaranteed a job as deputy superintendent.