New Oakwood superintendent has ties to many area districts


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OAKWOOD — One Vermilion County school district has wrapped up its search for a new leader, while another district will be launching one.

The Oakwood school board on Monday unanimously approved a three-year contract with Larry Maynard to serve as superintendent.

Maynard, Potomac Grade School's superintendent/principal for the last 18 months, will start his new assignment July 1. His salary was set at $115,000 the first year.

"I'm very thankful for the opportunity ... and I look forward to working collaboratively with the school board, staff, students, parents and the community," Maynard said Tuesday, adding that he believed the opportunity came about due to "the many people throughout my career that invested in me and helped me grow and develop."

He will succeed Gary Lewis, who will be sworn in as regional superintendent of schools for Champaign and Ford counties on July 1. Lewis has been an educator for 22 years, and an administrator for 19 of them. He has led the Oakwood district since 2015.

The district launched a search for Lewis' successor at the end of October. It received 14 applications, conducted interviews with four candidates and narrowed those down to two finalists.

Maynard is also a veteran educator. A Dwight High School alumnus, he studied education and played football at Joliet Junior College and Millikin University.

He earned a master's degree in sports administration from Illinois State University, and later a master's in education administration from Eastern Illinois University. He earned his superintendency endorsements from Eastern in 2014.

After graduating from Millikin, Maynard was a graduate assistant at Illinois Wesleyan University, where he coached football and track. While working on his first master's degree, he was hired to teach and coach at Normal Community High School.

Later, he served as head football coach and dean of students at Eureka High School; a teacher and head football coach at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School; and a teacher and football and track coach at Rantoul Township High School.

While earning his second master's, he was hired as principal at Judah Christian School in Champaign. He then returned to Rantoul Township High as dean of students and assistant principal for three years, then served as principal of Hoopeston Area High School for 10 years.

Maynard left Hoopeston to lead Potomac in 2017.

Lewis said Maynard will be a great fit for Oakwood and "has enough experience to come in and take over without any problem."

That said, Lewis said he's looking forward to working "side by side" with Maynard on some matters that will affect the coming school year before he leaves.

Maynard and his wife, Tracy — a wellness director at Gibson Area Hospital and a personal fitness trainer — live in Paxton. They have two daughters — Jori, who earned a degree in elementary education from ISU recently, and Kellyn, who will graduate from ISU with a business degree in December.


Noelle McGee is a Danville-based reporter at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@n_mcgee).