Suburban superintendents honored for distinguished service
Five suburban school leaders are among 21 Superintendents of Distinction honored from each school region in the state by the Illinois Association of School Administrators.
Honorees include: Tony Sanders, Elgin Area School District U-46; Brian Harris, Barrington Unit District 220; Jon Bartelt, Bloomingdale District 13; Kevin Anderson, Rosemont Elementary District 78; and Kevin Jauch, regional superintendent and executive director of the North Cook Regional Office of Education Intermediate Service. They were nominated by peers in their regions and selected based on their commitment, dedication and leadership.
"These extraordinary individuals are exceptional leaders and difference makers in their communities," association Executive Director Brent Clark said in a news release. "Throughout their careers, each honoree has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to elevating the success of students in their districts."
With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting education since last March, school leaders have had to adapt operations to serve students through a mix of remote, hybrid and in-person learning amid changing public health guidance.
"This school year has been extremely challenging for all superintendents in Illinois, and I am honored to be selected as part of this group in the 2020-21 school year," said Harris, District 220's superintendent for seven years and an educator for 34.
Under Harris' leadership, District 220 started a full-day kindergarten program, equipped all kindergarten through 12th-graders with iPads, and adopted a blended-learning model and new school start times based on sleep science.
Sanders has been an educator for 16 years and first served as U-46's CEO for seven years, then superintendent for seven. He has overseen the implementation of play-based, full-day kindergarten for all students, the expansion of the district's dual language program to serve students from prekindergarten through high school, and the creation of a new alternative high school to better serve students with a trauma-sensitive approach.
"This year, more than any other, all superintendents need to be lifted up and recognized for their efforts to serve their students and communities, so I share this recognition with my colleagues who have supported me so much this year," he said.
Jauch was nominated for supporting the 39 school districts and two special education cooperatives within the North Cook region during the pandemic.
He helped broaden the regional office's professional development catalog to include nationally and internationally renowned presenters, in-person and virtual offerings, as well as customized in-district opportunities.
"To be recognized by my peers in the North Cook Region is a tremendous honor," said Jauch, a 29-year veteran educator and regional superintendent for two years. "I feel privileged every day to work with and support such talented, dedicated, passionate educators."
Rosemont's Anderson, an educator for 32 years and District 78's superintendent for 22 years, helped stabilize the district's finances and build strong ties with the village, public safety department and park district. He also oversaw the district's one-to-one technology program and a new building initiative.
"If we look through the lenses of our students, we will always make the right decisions," he said.