DIETERICH — The Beecher City Unit 20 Superintendent will become the new head of the Dieterich Unit 30 School District, beginning July 1.

The Dieterich Board of Education Wednesday unanimously approved hiring Bruce Owen to take the position currently held by Superintendent Dan Niemerg, who is leaving his position to become the superintendent at Teutopolis Unit 50. Niemerg’s last day is June 30.

Board members were impressed with Owen’s experience. Owen has been the superintendent at Beecher City for seven years. Prior to that, he served three years as high school principal in the Cowden-Herrick School District and as assistant principal and athletic director for Neoga Junior-Senior High School.

Owen, who lives near Lake Sara, is looking forward to his new job at Dieterich.

“It’s a good, progressive community,” Owen said of the village.

“The test scores (in the schools) are good. I think I have a lot to offer and hope that we can continue to move the district forward,” he said, adding he’s looking forward to meeting and working with the staff.

School board President Ken Campton said the board was pleased with Owen’s experience and familiarity with the area.

The board had considered hiring a part-time superintendent, but in the end decided a full-time superintendent would be best for the school district. Several residents of the school district had voiced opposition to hiring a part-time superintendent.

“When we originally thought about a part-time superintendent, we didn’t know what pool of candidates we’d have,” Campton said.

Board member Jean Bohnhoff said she was impressed by Owen’s work ethic, dedication to education, his knowledge of finance and management, and his experience with school district construction.

“His experience in new construction will certainly be an asset for us,” Bohnhoff said. The Dieterich school board is working toward construction of a day-care/preschool facility.

Owen will be given a three-year contract that sets his salary at $120,000 a year.

In other business, the board approved a 3.7 percent salary increase for noncertified staff for the 2006-2007 school year.

Alta Mayhugh can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 131 or

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