O’Fallon High School superintendent ‘stepping away’ for medical reasons

UPDATE 5:25 P.M. - This story was updated to include a clarification from the District 203 attorney.

O’Fallon Township High School Superintendent Darcy Benway is stepping away from her position for medical reasons, according to Board of Education President Rob Brown.

Brown said Beth Shackelford will assume the superintendent’s duties “for the foreseeable future,” continuing her 20-year tenure with the district, most recently as director of academics. Shackelford has her superintendent certification, he said.

In 2021, Benway received a heart transplant shortly after being diagnosed with a very rare and “rapidly fatal” heart disease, but it is unclear whether her stepping back from her superintendent responsibilities is related.

Stephanie Jones, an attorney for District 203, clarified that Benway is not resigning, but “stepping away” for medical purposes. She was already scheduled to retire at the end of the current school year on June 30, 2024.

“This search that is underway has been underway before all of this current medical departure took place,” Jones said on a voicemail message. “They’re looking for a new superintendent for next year, because Dr. Benway is scheduled to resign.”

Brown, meanwhile, has called a special meeting of the board on Thursday at 5 p.m. to discuss its superintendent search with the Illinois Association of School Boards.

In 2022, she was recognized as the Superintendent of Distinction for the southwestern region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.

An attempt to reach Benway immediately was unsuccessful.