The superintendent of Belleville’s high school district announced that he plans to retire in fall 2020, and the school board has decided who it wants to replace him.
At their meeting Monday night, board members chose Brian Mentzer, Belleville District 201’s assistant superintendent, to take over for Superintendent Jeff Dosier in the 2020-21 school year.
The board will vote on a new contract and salary for Mentzer at a later date.
As assistant superintendent, Mentzer earns $135,764 per year. Dosier’s salary is $176,273.
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According to Dosier, Mentzer’s experience covers school administration, finance, student transportation and curriculum. “He’s extremely knowledgeable in just about every area of running a school,” Dosier said.
Mentzer, 42, worked as a superintendent in Millstadt before coming to District 201 seven years ago.
As assistant superintendent, he oversees District 201’s budgeting, and he, along with other staff, did the research that led the district to start handling busing in-house rather than contracting with a private company to get students to and from school.
Mentzer said that’s helping, but he thinks there are still financial challenges for the district to overcome.
The biggest challenge, though, is preparing more than 4,700 Belleville East and West High School students for college and a changing job market, according to Mentzer.
He said collaborating with more businesses and industries to give students an idea of what’s expected are among his goals as the district’s next superintendent.
Superintendent, successor work together for more than a decade
Dosier has worked in District 201 for the last 12 years, including eight years as superintendent. Before that, he worked for 19 years in Belleville District 118 as a teacher and eventually as an administrator.
District 118 is where Mentzer started his career as a teacher, too. It was 1999, and Dosier was his principal.
Except for the two years Mentzer spent as superintendent of Millstadt District 160, he and Dosier have worked together for most of Mentzer’s career.
“Jeff and I have a very unique relationship,” Mentzer said. “We get along. We think alike. We are good friends, so as they say, it’s been an amazing ride to work together, to get to learn from him. It’s been really fulfilling, and it will be different.”
Mentzer said he was searching for a fulfilling career as he studied undeclared at Murray State University.
He looked for advice from his dad, Tom, who was the principal at Franklin Elementary School in District 118 at the time. Mentzer would eventually work in the same position, with Dosier as his assistant superintendent.
Mentzer said he’s learned an administrator’s job is “to remove the barriers that keep those who work with you from doing their best work.”
“I want to do that with our professional team, custodial team, transportation team,” he said.