I am deeply humbled and honored to begin my tenure as IASA President. Illinois is filled with tremendous school leaders, and I feel truly blessed to represent all superintendents across the state.
I want to begin by commending superintendents for stepping up and navigating unprecedented obstacles this past school year. Superintendents were a steady presence and trusted voice in their communities at a time when leadership was needed. Thank you for your unwavering dedication and sacrifice.
With that, I want to share a little about myself and offer a few insights into why I wanted to become more involved with IASA.
My education career began as a music teacher at West Pike Community Unit School District #2 in 1996 after I graduated from the University of Illinois. I also worked in Elmwood Park CUSD #401 as a band director and Homewood SD #153 as middle school principal.
In 2010, I was named superintendent of Community Consolidated School District #146 after serving as superintendent of Steger SD #194 for four years. CCSD #146 is a preK-8 district with 2,400 students in the Cook South region that serves the communities of Tinley Park, Orland Park and Oak Forest.
Since becoming a superintendent, IASA has played a key role in helping me grow as a leader and building my professional network. I always encourage new superintendents to take advantage of opportunities to connect with their peers, whether that’s at region meetings or professional development opportunities. The superintendency can be a lonely job — but only if you let it be.
Being elected in 2017 as the Cook South representative on the IASA Board of Directors was a great honor for me. Serving on the board has deepened my understanding and appreciation of the talented leaders we have in this state as well as the important role IASA plays in elevating our profession.
As your new IASA President, I hope I can continue the rich tradition of outstanding leadership. The strength of IASA has always been that it is a statewide association guided by incredible school leaders who share the common goal of making decisions based on what is best for students.
Next school year, superintendents will once again be tested and asked to navigate complex problems. The IASA Board of Directors includes superintendents of all 21 regions, and we want you to know — we are here to support you.
I will close by borrowing a line from my predecessor, Dr. Victor Zimmerman. Remember, seven school board members once sat in a room and decided you were the best person for the job.
Have a great year, and I look forward to seeing each of you at the IASA Annual Conference in Springfield, September 29-October 1.