MORTON — The Morton School Board has given Superintendent Jeff Hill a two-year contract extension.

Hill's original three-year contract was scheduled to expire June 30, 2020. It now will expire June 30, 2022.

"I'm looking forward to the next 2½ years," Hill said.

So are board members, who voted unanimously earlier this month for Hill's contract extension.

"The board is very pleased Dr. Hill accepted our offer. We have complete confidence that he will continue to lead the Morton School District with exceptional skill and dignity," said board President Shad Beaty.

Beaty said the board has been impressed with Hill's leadership.

"Dr. Hill's calm but firm demeanor and his exceptional communication skills have earned great respect for him among board members," Beaty said. "The relationship between Dr. Hill and the board is exceptional, and that has led to significant improvements in our district."

Beaty pointed to Hill's Morton Moving Forward initiative, designed to improve academic achievement and provide more services for students in the K-12 district, as a prime example of Hill's vision.

Because of the initiative, the district now has literacy coaches and full-day kindergarten at the four elementary schools, more counselors at Morton High School and Morton Junior High School, and a director of student activities and engagement.

Beaty said the board's new practice is to wait until the final year of a superintendent's contract before offering a contract extension.

"We appreciate Dr. Hill's patience with the new process," he said.

Hill's salary this school year is $185,207.

His salary will increase 2.5% next school year — to $189,837 — to be consistent with the district's contract with the Morton Education Association.

Hill is the Morton School District's sixth superintendent since the district was formed in 1971.

He was superintendent of Illinois State University's Laboratory Schools in 2017 when he was hired by the Morton School Board to replace Lindsey Hall.

Hall, Morton's superintendent since 2012, left to become superintendent of the Mahomet-Seymour School District near Champaign.

Hill was no stranger to the Morton community when he was hired to lead the school district.

He and his family lived in the village of Morton from 1994 to 2000, when he was principal at Tremont High School.

His wife, Kelli, was the assistant principal at Morton Junior High School from 1994 to 1997. She's now vice president of external relations at Heartland Community College in Normal.

Jeff Hill was head of school at Clarksville (Tenn.) Academy from 2000 to 2003 and principal at Olympia High School from 2003 to 2005 before going to the K-12 Laboratory Schools.

He was principal at University High School in Normal from 2005 to 2012 before being named superintendent.

U-High and Metcalf School in Normal give future educators at ISU hands-on training and experience.

Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.