Leadership Matters September 2014

Matters Leadership SEPTEMBER 2 0 1 4

Golden Anniversary Conference

offers dynamic lineup of speakers

In this month’s issue

Additional Items 

Davidson: Today’s students have their heads in the (digital) cloud P. 6 Author of ‘The Energy Bus’ out to neutralize ’energy vampires’ P. 8 Farooqui issues call to defend public education, rouse silent majority P. 10 Most decorated teacher in America fulfills commitment to his students P. 12 2nd year administrators reflect on last year’s conference P. 16 New Superintendent Strand at the Conference P. 18 Conference Agenda P. 15

Message from the State Superintendent of Education

Celebrating 50 years with a great conference P. 5

State Superintendent wishes Happy 50th Birthday to IASA P. 4

Conference Exhibitors P. 20

Annual Meeting Notice P. 23

Southern Illinois Education Law and Labor Conference P. 29 Getting to know your IASA Board Members P. 34

Calendar of Events P. 38

Let’s join hands to solve evaluation problems for good of students P. 24

Fact vs. Fiction: Budget vs. Annual Financial Report P. 26

2648 Beechler Court Springfield, IL 62703-7305 217.753.2213 800 Woodfield Road, Ste. F109 Schaumburg, IL 60173-4717 847.466.5075

IASA Newsletter Editor Michael Chamness mchamness@iasaedu.org

Assistant Editor Mary Ellen Buch mbuch@iasaedu.org

1200 West Main Street Marion, IL 62959-1138 618.364.0501

Volume 2, Issue 8


We’ll celebrate our 50 th with a great conference!

Angeles and his students were featured in the PBS documentary “The Hobart Shakespeareans.” He also is the author of the New York Times’ best -seller “Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire.” In addition to that power-packed lineup, we have invited both gubernatorial candidates to appear. We also have an outstanding set of breakout sessions, special events such as the “Super” 5K run early Thursday morning, October 9, and the opportunity to network with colleagues from all over the state. We also have developed a special professional development strand for new superintendents. I’d like to urge you to reach out to new superintendents in your region and issue a personal invitation for them to join you at the Annual Conference. The superintendency is quite

When the planning for our 2014 Annual Conference began, we challenged ourselves to put together a truly special event. We wanted to celebrate IASA’s 50 th anniversary in the most fitting way possible – to offer our members a lineup of speakers worthy of a Golden Anniversary. As this issue of Leadership Matters details, I think we succeeded. I encourage you to read the feature stories in this edition about:

Message from the Executive Director Dr. Brent Clark

Hall Davidson , Senior Director of Global Learning Initiatives for Discovery Education. Davidson, who won an Emmy Award as the math version of Bill Nye the Science Guy on an educational TV show, will focus on education in the digital age, a curriculum shift that he says is one of the most important in the history of public education. Jon Gordon , author of “The Energy Bus,” which made the Wall Street Journal’s best-seller list. Gordon has served as consultant to a pretty diverse audience ranging from the Campbell Soup Company to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. He will talk about “The Power of Positive Leadership” and how to neutralize “energy vampires.”

Headline Speakers

challenging even for veteran superintendents, but it can be especially daunting for brand

new superintendents. Vision 20/20 update The Vision 20/20

committees, our Statewide School Management Alliance partners and other endorsing

Hall Davidson

Jon Gordon

organizations are still tweaking some of the language for the final

document, but we are inching closer to completing one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by IASA. I will be giving updates and answering questions as I travel around the state to attend region meetings in the next several weeks. The release needs to be strategically timed so that it receives the attention it

Suhail Farooqui

Rafe Esquith

Click here to register for the IASA Annual Conference

deserves. Before the release occurs, IASA members will be provided with a summary and talking points because success will depend on a grassroots effort at the local level. In creating a vision and a road map for the future of public education in Illinois, what we really are doing is making a promise to the more than 2 million children who depend on us to provide them the best possible educational opportunities. We are going to need everyone’s help in order to fulfill that promise.

 Suhail Farooqui , President and CEO of K12 Insight. Born and raised in India, Farooqui is a naturalized citizen who truly has a global view of public education in the United States. He is staunch defender of public schools who thinks the vocal minority have had center stage for too long.  Rafe Esquith , perhaps the most decorated teacher in America. Esquith teaches fifth grade at Hobart Elementary School in inner-city Los


State superintendent wishes Happy 50th to IASA! ISBE, Illinois PTA to hold Back-to-School webinar for parents September 9

efforts, students can only accomplish so much without engaged and supportive parents. We know learning begins at birth, and a child’s academic, physical, social and emotional growth and development are a shared responsibility among parents, teachers and school leaders alike. Research clearly shows that children are more likely to succeed when their families are involved in the learning process, both at home and at school. However, many schools need assistance to build and strengthen effective relationships with parents. To serve this need, ISBE has developed a shared framework guide for engaging families. I, along with members of

Message from the State Superintendent of Education

Thanks to all of you who took time out of your busy schedules to attend our 2014 Back-to-School Webinar last month. We had nearly 800 participants and many productive questions, which speak to your tremendous commitment to your students. Many of you have assisted

“...I applaud the Illinois School Administrators for 50 years of providing much-needed support, resources and advocacy for school leaders in your efforts to improve and strengthen our public education system one district at a time. The role of administrator can be a thankless job at times, and the State Board of Education could not pursue its goals without the strong dedication of superintendents and school leaders.” Association

me and my staff over the years to improve the systems we currently have to better measure and tell the story of student and school success. I appreciate your assistance and your continued efforts to prioritize your student’s instruction. Given our financial challenges in Illinois, your leadership makes all the difference for our students. Working together, we are improving the lives of our students and the well-being of our state’s economy by better preparing our students for postsecondary education and training and meaningful careers. As we roll out and fine-tune new learning standards and assessments and a new accountability system, we are able to better measure and tell the story of student and school success. That’s why I applaud the Illinois Association of School Administrators for 50 years of

of the Illinois PTA, will discuss the state’s efforts to promote this crucial relationship between parents and school communities during a Back- to-School Webinar for Parents at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 9. During the presentation, I will also update parents on the new learning standards implementation as well as the debut of the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams and how they will inform parents about their children’s progress toward college and career readiness. I ask that you encourage families in your districts to register and participate. Registration

-- Dr. Christopher A. Koch, State Superintendent of Education

information is available at www1.gotomeeting.com/ register/185876249 . I also encourage you to continue your good work of finding new ways to connect and communicate with families. Working together, we can provide a solid foundation for a bright and prosperous future for the state’s 2 million students. My best to all of you for the new school year,

providing much-needed support, resources and advocacy for school leaders in your efforts to improve and strengthen our public education system one district at a time. The role of administrator can be a thankless job at times, and the State Board of Education could not pursue its goals without the strong dedication of superintendents and school leaders. I also realize that despite administrators’ best



Preview of the

Golden Anniversary


October 8 - 10


Davidson: Today’s students have their heads in the (digital) clouds

By Michael Chamness IASA Director of Communications

Annual Conference. His presentation titled “Leading, Learning and Achieving: The Reality of the Digital Age for Administrators” is scheduled for the first general session on Wednesday afternoon, October 8. “The real message is the importance of leadership in the digital transition,” Davidson said. “That transition occurs faster and better when it comes from the top, and that’s more important than at any time in curriculum development because it’s

One could say that Hall Davidson went from teaching in the classroom to teaching on TV in a matter of minutes. Literally. Davidson would teach mathematics at a Hollywood middle school until the final bell rang, then would drive to a PBS station in Los Angeles where he was an on-camera math teacher for a live call-in show -- math’s version of Bill Nye the Science Guy. “People would call in with math

problems and we would show them how to solve them on the air,” Davidson recalled. “The show was designed for students, but we knew we had a covert adult audience of stealth learners. We’d get a call from a construction site asking how many yards of concrete it would take to fill a certain area. We didn’t have a lot of tools to work with – the TV weathermen were still drawing on white boards back then – but we solved math problems on live TV.” A cutting-edge concept for the 1970s, the show won an Emmy Award. It also helped launch Davidson on a career of producing

happening so fast and the potential impact to reach individual students is so great. Classroom practices must change and superintendents have to set that tone that moves that forward.” Davidson said his own conversion from the classroom to mass media was a classic case of necessity being the mother of invention.

educational TV shows and being a leading proponent for schools to adapt to the digital age, a transformation that he sees as one of the most important curriculum changes ever for public education. Davidson, Senior Director of Global Learning Initiatives for Discovery Education, will be one of the headline general session speakers at the IASA

Math teachers in the ‘70s were being lured into other professions, helping to create a shortage. Teaching math on a PBS station was one way to reach masses of students, at least those curious enough to watch. Now, he said, the best way to reach students is on their turf, digital turf. It can enhance learning and can induce understanding in students very quickly. He recalled watching with some sense of

Wednesday, October 8 4:30 – 5:45 p.m. Opening Ceremony/First General Session Leading, Learning, Achieving: The Realities of the Digital Age for Administrators

(Continued on page 7)


bemusement a huge interactive display by Dell computers at an airport. It was the size of about 12 TV screens and people had to try to figure out how to get to the next level to unlock the game. “I watched adult after adult push a couple of

“In one school building I saw a teacher using Skype technology to connect her fourth-grade classroom to a classroom in another state. The ‘lesson’ was for the students to try and figure out where the other classroom was located by asking

questions like ‘Do you live by a river or a lake?’ They were really engaged. Across the hall, another teacher might be pulling down a map so kids could memorize the states for a quiz. “The change won’t move across the hall until the superintendent says ‘This is the direction we’re heading and everyone needs to get on board.’ “ Even then, Davidson cautioned that the change will take time, effort and patience. Maybe three years’ worth from the time a

buttons and walk away not being able to even get to the first screen of the game. Then along came a girl who was about 11 or 12 years old. She tried a few times, put her hand under her chin, and then unlocked the game. Balloons fell from the sky on the screens and she just walked away like it was no big deal.” Getting to the next

“The real message is the importance of leadership in the digital transition, That transition occurs faster and better when it comes from the top, and that’s more important than at any time in curriculum development because it’s happening so fast and the potential impact to reach individual students is so great.” - Hall Davidson

level of technology use is the classroom is a big deal. Davidson said his travels across the country have revealed quite a digital divide in public education. He said that gap not only exists from district to district, but also from school to school and even from classroom to classroom.

district takes the first step. “It will require lots of professional development, and it can’t happen overnight. It really needs to be a three-year plan because that’s probably how long it will take to implement digital education and truly change the way we are teaching students.”


Author of ‘The Energy Bus’ out to neutralize ‘energy vampires’

By Michael Chamness IASA Director of Communications

Here’s a quick trivia question: What do the Atlanta Falcons, the Campbell Soup Company, Southwest Airlines and the IASA have in common? Answer: All have an interest in what Jon Gordon has to say about leadership. Gordon, a best-selling author and acclaimed speaker, will be one of the headliners at the upcoming IASA Annual Conference. His presentation titled “The Power of Positive Leadership” will focus on how and why positive leaders make a greater impact and how to “weed the negativity that sabotages far too many organizations and schools,” and how to “neutralize energy vampires.” Back to the trivia question, Gordon’s book “The Energy Bus” – on the Wall Street Journal’s best-seller list numerous times since 2007 – initially was written for businesses, but it has resonated with a more diverse audience, including educators, and became required reading for the National Football League’s Falcons. It also almost never got published. “During the most challenging time in my life, when everything seemed like it was falling apart, I asked what I was born to do, and writing and speaking kept coming to me,” Gordon said. “The idea for ‘The Energy Bus’ came to me several years later on a walk and I wrote the book in three and a half weeks. It was rejected by more than 30 publishers. “I initially wrote it for businesses, but it seems to have had a far greater impact in the world of education and sports. I love getting emails from principals and teachers that have transformed their school and classrooms with the message in the adult version and children’s version.” Gordon comes highly recommended as a speaker. Consider these testimonials:

“Jon Gordon’s presentation on ‘The Energy Bus’ to our U.S. sales organization was top notch. He quickly engaged the group with his high energy style…” --Douglas R. Conant, President and CEO of Campbell Soup Company “ Jon’s presentation was regarded by many as the best of our conference. ‘Super,’ ‘Inspiring,’ ‘Great ideas,’ ‘Phenomenal,’ Wonderful uplifting presentation’…and similar comments dominated our attendee evaluations.” --Ernie Mannino, Associate Executive Director, National Association of Elementary School Principals

Thursday, October 9 9:15 - 11 a.m. Second General Session The Energy Bus: Drive Your School District with Optimism, Passion, and Purpose

(Continued on page 9)


“Jon’s books and talks to our team have had a significant impact on our culture and have helped us build a positive team where our players overcome negativity and challenges…” --Mike Smith, head coach of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons Smith, the

common, and said that I should be a household name. I told her that I just want to be a big name in my household. I believe leadership starts with influencing those closest to us,” Gordon said. “We must lead our leadership teams before we can lead our organizations. Great leaders develop other leaders…great

winningest coach in the history of the Falcons, read “The Energy Bus” when he was defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars. When he was named head coach of the Falcons in 2008, he had his team read the book and invited Gordon to speak to the team. The Energy Bus has also been used by numerous professional and college coaches including NBA coaches Doc Rivers, Brad Stevens and Pittsburg Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle. (I didn’t consult with Doc, Brad and Clint) “I think the common thing is that my message is all about developing positive

leaders succeed not because they are great, but because they bring our greatness in others.” Gordon lays out his simple formula in his latest book, “The Carpenter.” “The three greatest leadership strategies of all are Love, Serve and Care,” he said. “I do those three things and simply focus on making a difference and let the outcome take care of itself.” Gordon said his message and that formula are applicable to public school systems facing challenges ranging from severe budget cuts to being attacked by reform groups and the media. “My children go to public school. I went to public school,” Gordon said. “Whatever people say

leadership and positive teams and confronting negativity and energy vampires that sabotage so many teams and organizations,” Gordon said. “We all have energy vampires in our lives…and I believe that’s why my message resonates. I give practical and proven ways to confront, transform and/or remove them. It all starts with culture.” Developing a positive culture starts with a leader’s innermost circle. Gordon recalled being on a plane with a TV executive about a year ago and giving her a copy of one of his books. “She had never heard of me, which is very

are the problems, I believe one crucial part of the solution is great leadership. We all know that if you put a great principal in a struggling school, the principal will turn around the school…great principals create great cultures and they bring out the best in their teachers. Give school leaders the power and authority to build their culture and transform their school and they will.”


Farooqui issues call to defend public education, rouse silent majority

By Michael Chamness IASA Director of Communications

education. The founder and CEO of K12 Insight, Farooqui will be the headline speaker at the general session of the IASA Annual Conference Thursday afternoon, October 9. Fittingly, the title of his presentation is “If We Don’t Stand Up for Public Schools, Who Will?” “What I have learned about America is when something that’s important to you is at risk, the American way is to fight for it,” said Farooqui, acknowledging that the odds are stacked in the current environment of public schools being starved financially and battered by the media and reform groups. “School superintendents have to fight the big dollars from some of the reformers. They may be well -meaning and think they are contributing to educational improvement, but what they are doing could dismantle public education. There is a rush to build more charter schools, but this is not about

Suhail Farooqui watches and listens in amazement as reformers and the media tear down public education in America. Growing up in Mumbai, India, Farooqui viewed the United States as an educational destination. “I came here because America continues to be a beacon for education and opportunity. I was inspired by engineering and I wanted to be a space shuttle astronaut. When I read NASA’s fine print, it said you had to be an American citizen,” said Farooqui, who earned his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and attended the graduate program in Electrical Engineering at Yale University. He also became a naturalized citizen of the United States and has become one of the staunchest defenders of one of our nation’s cornerstones, public


charter schools versus public schools; it is about better schools,” he said, noting that there is no hard data to suggest that charter schools perform any better than public schools. “Public education is the great equalizer and a noble cause that’s worth the fight and we need to make sure that we don’t re- segregate our schools.” Of course, Farooqui is not advocating physical violence or even bumper stickers saying “Our

education system as America’s most amazing marvel. “As I learned more about public education in this country, it became evident to me that public education is America’s true competitive advantage over the world,” he said. He identified poverty as “the elephant in the room.” Recalling his first visit to the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield a couple of years ago,

Farooqui said it was an emotional experience to be exposed to that painful period of slavery and Civil War in our country’s history and how America emerged stronger when its leaders faced the hard facts and met them head on and did the right thing. Against that backdrop, he is both puzzled disappointed that the present generation of policymakers demand results without the courage to face some very difficult ground realities. “I don’t understand how a nation that aspires to implement No Child Left Behind is afraid to talk

superintendents can beat up your reformers.” His strategy is to mobilize the silent majority. “Social media is a force of history that has empowered and amplified the vocal minority. The absence of the silent majority seriously distorts the headlines and, more insidious, is feeding a serious deficit of trust that is slowly creeping into public thinking,” Farooqui said. “We need to restore and build up trust capital through the authentic meaning of public relations, relating to the public.” Farooqui’s background

“Social media is a force of history that has empowered and amplified the vocal minority. The absence of the silent majority seriously distorts the headlines and, more insidious, is feeding a serious deficit of trust that is slowly creeping into public thinking. We need to restore and build up trust capital through the authentic meaning of public relations, relating to the public.”

- K12 Insight Founder and CEO Suhail Farooqui

gives him a truer global view than many critics, and he scoffs at some of the global comparisons they make. “I talk with educational leaders in Singapore and they tell me that they need to get rid of their way of teaching and replace it with the American model. People point to Finland and they want Finland results without the resources Finland pours into education. Finland values and honors the teaching profession,” Farooqui said, adding that India, where he attended public school “is amazing – provided you were lucky enough to be born in a handful of zip codes.” Under the heading of America’s marvels, Farooqui indicated that most people remember the space program, scientific breakthroughs and engineering feats such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam. Yet he places America’s public Thursday, October 9 1:45 - 2:45 p.m. Third General Session If We Don’t Stand Up for Public Schools, Who Will?

about the role that poverty plays in our public schools,” Farooqui said. “How can people talk about funding formulas, Common Core and raising the bar, but close their eyes to the poverty issue and debate something as simple as early childhood education? ”I understand that most school administrators wished they could focus solely on teaching and learning and let someone else fix the trust deficit that’s befallen our schools. Sadly, help is not on the way. Yet, I am confident that when superintendents and district leaders rise with one voice, they will be surprised at what they can accomplish. If there was one thing worth fighting for to preserve the long-term security and strength of our nation, I would say that one thing is public education.”


Most decorated teacher in America fulfills commitment to his students

By Michael Chamness IASA Director of Communications

Rafe Esquith might be the most decorated teacher in America. He doesn’t need to teach another day. He could be writing another best-seller or working on a movie about his incredible career. He even was asked to start his own line of “Rafe Schools” in China. Instead, he’s right where he knows he should be: Starting his 32 nd year of teaching fifth- graders at Hobart Boulevard Elementary School in the Koreantown neighborhood of Los Angeles. “The first rule I have as a teacher is to be a role model for my students. I tell my students that what we do in Room 56 matters,” said Esquith in a phone interview during a school break for lunch recently. “If I leave this place, I’m lying to them.” Recipient of such prestigious awards as the 1992 Disney National Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, the Oprah Winfrey “Use Your Life Award,” Parents Magazine’s “As You Grow Award,” the National Medal of Arts Award, the Compassion in Action Award from the Dalai Lama, and the Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award, Esquith will be the headline speaker to close the IASA Annual Conference on Friday, October 10. He wrote “Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire,” which made the New York Times’ bestseller list in 2007, as well as “There Are No Shortcuts” (2003), “Lighting Their Fires” (2009), and his latest book “Real Talk for Real Teachers,” written in 2013. That he still is teaching in Room 56 at Hobart Elementary might be surprising to some, but how he ended up there is one clue. Upon graduating from UCLA, Esquith got a job teaching at Ivanhoe Elementary School, a decidedly upper middle class school. He taught there for two happy years before moving to Hobart, or, more accurately, being challenged to move to Hobart.

“We won the L.A. city math championship and I was feeling pretty good about things when the principal of Hobart came over and said ‘You didn’t do anything. Anybody could have won with your team,’ “ Esquith recalled. “He invited me to visit Hobart Elementary and I was shocked.” Also inspired, apparently. He left the relative comforts of Ivanhoe to tackle the inner-city struggles facing the Hobart students. The poverty level was 90 percent and English was the second language for most students. Like many inner-city schools and a growing

Friday, October 10 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Closing General Session Real Talk for Real Educators

(Continued on page 13)


percentage of all public schools, poverty is, as Esquith described it “the elephant in the (class)room.” “When you talk about kids who have no dinner and maybe don’t even have a parent in the home at night, of course they are at a disadvantage when they come to school,” said Esquith, who acknowledged

“She passed my test,” said Esquith, who conforms with but disagrees with the standardized testing that is mandated in public schools. “She kept her supplies, was organized, knew to bring the repellant and shared it with her classmates. My guess is that she has a very good chance at being

successful in other parts of her life. The most important things I teach are not on the test.” That’s because Esquith emphasizes teaching his students skills that connect with their life, weaving lessons about integrity, honesty, and discipline with math, English and science. He teaches his kids multiple subjects each day, but to Esquith it is really one continuous lesson. “I tell my students that they must be organized, that if you are organized, your math will be better, but your lives also will be better,” he said. “No child works harder because you write a standard on the board. Education has to be about them. If I had one piece of advice for teachers it would be relevance, relevance, relevance.” Esquith listed three central precepts for his classroom, his students and himself to follow: Be nice. Work hard. “That sets the culture for our classroom.” No shortcuts. “I tell my kids that to be really good at anything takes years of practice.” The journey is far more

using anger at social injustice as fuel. He routinely spends from 6:30 a.m. to after 5 p.m. at school, a schedule many of his students also adopt. “I believe in my country and that we should give every kid an equal chance, but with poverty that doesn’t happen the way it should. “For me, when the light bulb goes off in a kid’s head, that’s the greatest feeling in the world.” Anyone would be lucky to have a teacher like Esquith. His students spend all year preparing for their annual Shakespeare performance, which was featured in the 2005 PBS documentary “The Hobart Shakespeareans.” Celebrities often are in the audience. Thanks to actor Hal Holbrook, one of Esquith’s classes got to take a field trip to Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Mo., to sit in the graveyard at midnight and read the chapter from “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” where Tom and Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer witnessed a murder in the graveyard. It was a hot August night along the Mississippi River and hordes of mosquitoes threatened to add a degree of misery to the enlightening adventure. One of the girls in the class had

Each year Esquith’s fifth graders at Hobart Elementary School perform a play by Shakespeare. The students were featured in the PBS documentary “The Hobart Shakespeareans” and have performed all over the world, including performances at The Globe Theater in London and even in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Such luminaries as Sir Ian McKellen, Michael York, Hal Holbrook, Patrick Stewart, and Garth Brooks have spent time with the Hobart Shakespeareans. Esquith said perhaps the greatest day the class ever had was when Miep Gies, Anne Frank’s protector, came from Holland to meet the children.

important than the end result. “People marvel at the fact our students don’t get nervous doing the Shakespeare performances. We don’t focus on the

remembered to bring repellant she had been given on a class trip the year before to Yosemite National Park.

(Continued on page 14)


(Continued from page 13)

small army of former students who still are actively involved with Hobart and Esquith’s programs. Another, a graduate of the Yale School of Law, helped establish a 501(c)3, raised money to fund the special programs at the school and chairs Esquith’s non-profit board. (“It’s kind of neat that one of my

show; we focus on preparing ourselves for the show. We don’t have a cast party after the show. The show is the party, and when it’s over we start the next day preparing for next year’s show.” He wears the same outfit to school every day: vest, tie and white tennis shoes. “It’s about consistency. I

former students is now my boss.”) The Shakespeareans’ website was designed by two other former students, and another former student is now teaching at Hobart. Though Esquith probably could rival the Lakers for hardware, he’s not really about awards. The humility he saw in Joann is a loftier goal. But one award, the Sondheim Award he received in 2011 from the Kennedy Center, does have special meaning for Esquith. That’s because you can only be nominated by former students.

might be the most stable force in their lives and I want them to know what they can expect every day from me.” Why would someone with Esquith’s obvious talents and abilities spend his whole life teaching fifth-graders in inner-city Los Angeles? “My smart-alec answer is for the money,” he said with a laugh.

“In the teacher movies I’ve seen, they save every kid. I know some of those teachers and I’ve never seen that happen. I think it does a disservice to young teachers. I fail all of the time, sometimes heart-breaking failure and Hollywood wouldn’t allow that.” - Rafe Esquith

Really, it’s about his deep commitment to his students. His father died of lung cancer when Rafe was nine years old, so he truly can relate to children from single-parent homes. He listed his wife and a former student as his two biggest influences. “My wife is the person who taught me that tests matter, but the things tests don’t measure are the most important things about a person,” he said. “Then there was one child, the only student whose name I didn’t change in my books. Her name is Joann and she was 10 when I met her. She was a musician, not just an ordinary musician, but an extraordinary musician – and no one knew it. She was so humble that her friends didn’t even know that she played the piano. I found her humility to be so special. I learned from her that the reward is to be great, not to show people that you’re great.” Joann, who went on to attain a Ph.D. in music from Northwestern, now serves as the Hobart Shakespeareans director of music. She is one of a

Esquith has turned down offers for a movie about his life and teaching career. He said the Hollywood treatment is too phony for his taste. “In the teacher movies I’ve seen, they save every kid. I know some of those teachers and I’ve never seen that happen. I think it does a disservice to young teachers,” he said. “I fail all of the time, sometimes heart-breaking failure and Hollywood wouldn’t allow that.” So there probably won’t be a movie about the teacher called “a modern day Thoreau” by Newsday, “a genius and a saint” by the New York Times, and “the most interesting and influential classroom teacher in America” by the Washington Post. But if there were… “I think the title of it would be ‘We’re Never Done,’ “ Esquith said with a chuckle, adding that at age 60 he’s not close to being done. “Wait ‘til you see my next 30 years!”


“I would encourage every superintendent to attend the IASA fall conference. The sessions are useful, timely, and relevant. Beyond the value of the sessions, however, you’ll find a lot of support and guidance through all of the networking opportunities the conference

We asked last year’s first year superintendents to comment on their experiences attending the IASA Annual Conference.

provides. Attending this conference is a priority!” Patricia Sullivan-Viniard, La Grange Highlands District 106

“The IASA Annual Conference provides me with current and accurate information from individuals working inside the State Board of Education, State Capitol, and other Educational Agencies. I always

“I can't speak enough to the relevance and timing of the Superintendents

Conference. There are so many things running through your mind as you enter into that first year of the new position. The sessions not only helped to guide me, but also created new deeper questions

leave the conference feeling valued as a Superintendent, connected to my colleagues, motivated to give my very best, and compelled to make a difference in my school district” Dr. Andrew S. Wise, Olympia School District 16

which I was able to have answered through IASA leadership and networking. The 'real world' applications that you talk about with peers make the conference even more worthwhile. Having some downtime to talk, strategize and plan is so welcome. It gives you that second wind and a positive outlook knowing that you don't go through this alone." Sheila Greenwood, Bement CUSD 5

“The IASA Superintendent Conference was a great opportunity to meet and network with fellow superintendents who ended up being my

“It's a great opportunity to learn about current issues affecting superintendents in Illinois from those who are most knowledgeable, and to network with other superintendents who have years of experience in the field. If you're going to pull yourself away from the district for an event, be sure it is this one.”

best resources throughout the year to answer all of my rookie questions. I heard great speakers and attended presentations on multiple issues where I learned important information that I was able to bring back to my school district and put into practice.” Timothy Page, A-C Central School District 262

Dr. Ryan Olson, LaHarpe Comm 347 and Dallas Elementary 327


“As a new superintendent, the IASA Conference in October was invaluable. The sessions reminded me to focus my time and energy on what matters most. The sessions were both practical and encouraging.” Dr. Donald D. Owen, Urbana School District 116

“As a first year superintendent, I found the IASA Annual Conference to be a place I could gain professional development, network with first year superintendents, and visit with experienced superintendents. Veteran superintendents were always willing to discuss the challenges they face everyday. My first IASA Annual conference was a great learning opportunity during my

first year as a district leader. I would recommend all new and experienced superintendents attend the conference on a yearly basis.” Mike Curry, V.I.T. Community 2

See page 18 for the New Superintendents’ Strand at the Conference

IASA 5K ‘Super’ Fun Run/Walk returns to menu of networking activities

Breakout Sessions

IASA is excited to continue our 'Super' 5K Fun Run/Walk this year. It will be held Thursday morning October 9 at 6:45 a.m.! The run/walk is designed for runners and walkers of all levels and will begin and end at

Pick a topic that’s timely and important for Illinois educators and we’ve got it covered for the IASA Annual Conference. We have put together an exciting lineup of breakout sessions designed to give you the information and tools necessary to meet the new demands and challenges in public education. Breakout sessions will focus on principal and teacher evaluations, 1:1 devices, social media in the schools and school safety, to name just a few.

the Lost Bridge Trail. Come join your colleagues for this event (and receive a free t-shirt). There is no cost to attend the event. The Crowne Plaza Ballroom will be the site of the late night

President’s Reception on Thursday evening, giving members an opportunity to network with each other.


Annual Conference Agenda

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Breakout Sessions 1:45 – 2:45 p.m. Third General Session Keynote Speaker: Suhail Farooqui If We Don’t Stand Up for Public Schools, Who Will?  3 – 4 p.m. Breakout Sessions  4 to 5 p.m. High School District Organization Meeting (HSDO)  4:15 – 5:15 p.m. (doors open at 4 p.m.) Special Session Gubernatorial Candidate Forum  4:30 – 6 p.m. Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools Meeting (AIRSS)  5 - 7:30 p.m. Southern Illinois University Reception  5:15 – 6:15 p.m. ISAL I and II Alumni Reunion  6:15 p.m. Hospitality Suites Open  9 – 11 p.m. IASA President’s Reception – Hosted by President Scott Kuffel, Superintendent of Geneseo Comm Unit #228

8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Early Bird Academies 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Registration Open

 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. New Superintendent Mentoring Meetings  3 – 4 p.m. ISBE Session - Focus on Success  4:30 – 5:45 p.m. Opening Ceremony/First General Session Keynote Speaker: Hall Davidson Leading, Learning, Achieving: The Realities of the Digital Age for Administrators  6 – 7:30 p.m. IASA Welcoming Reception 6:45 a.m. IASA 2 nd Annual ‘Super’ 5K Fun Run/ Walk  7 – 9 a.m. Continental Breakfast for all Attendees  7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Registration Open  8:15 – 9 a.m. New Superintendent's Roundtable Breakout Sessions  9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Exhibit Hall Open Lunch available inside the Exhibit Hall  9:15 – 11 a.m. Second General Session Keynote Speaker: Jon Gordon The Energy Bus: Drive Your School District with Optimism, Passion, and Purpose  11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch available inside the Exhibit Hall  11:15 - 11:45 a.m. ISAL Informational Session  12:30 – 1:30 p.m. What to do and (more importantly) what not to do in your first year as superintendent: lessons we learned on the job (so you won’t have to) Thursday, October 9, 2014 

Friday, October 10, 2014

7 – 11:30 a.m. Registration Open

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Breakout Sessions IASA Past Presidents Meeting

 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. Closing General Session, IASA Annual Meeting and Vision 20/20 update (Brunch Buffet) Keynote Speaker: Rafe Esquith Real Talk for Real Educators  11:45 a.m. Adjournment


Celebrate IASA’s Golden Anniversary at the Annual Conference!

We are marking the 50 th anniversary of IASA becoming a stand-alone association at our Annual Conference, so please save the dates October 8-10. We have designed a commemorative coin that will be given to attendees, and we are working very hard to make the conference the highlight of our Golden Anniversary celebration.

New Superintendents’ Strand The first year in any new leadership role can be very challenging, and that is especially true for new superintendents during these times of fiscal crises and attacks on public education from all sides. In addition to the networking opportunities with other superintendents that you cannot find many other places, the program we have put together this year was with new superintendents in mind. In fact, we have developed a strand just for new superintendents that includes the following offerings: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 Basic Collective Bargaining - Revised 2011 (AAC #1045 ) 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. This course will provide administrators with the basic knowledge and skills needed for effective collective bargaining. It will focus on contract language, bargaining preparation, legal framework, interpersonal relations, and the data-driven economic impact of the organization. New Superintendent Mentoring Meetings (1:30 to 2:30 p.m.) First year superintendents gathering with the IASA Field Services Directors Thursday, October 9, 2014 New Superintendent's Roundtable (8:15 to 9:00 a.m.) This roundtable session is an opportunity for reflection and discussion on the issues that confront the first year superintendent. What To Do and (more importantly) What Not to Do in Your First Year as Superintendent: Lessons We Learned On the Job (so you won’t have to (12:30 to 1:30 p.m.) The superintendency is often referred to as the Impossible Job . While it is true that nothing can prepare the new superintendent for what is to come, it is also true that this is part of what makes the job exciting and meaningful. Come to this session to learn from three second-year superintendents on what they would do the same and what they would do differently and how, with the right knowledge, tools and relationships, you can do your best to serve kids every day.


OCTOBER 8-10, 2014

We have a great lineup of speakers!

Hall Davidson , Senior Director of Global Learning Initiatives for Discovery Education and a nationally known educator and speaker on education in the digital age. Before coming to the Discovery Education Network, Davidson was Director of Educational Services at KOCE-TV, a PBS station in Orange County, California and taught math on a television show that earned an Emmy.

Noted author and business consultant Jon Gordon , who has written books on such topics as leadership, culture and teamwork. He has authored nine books, including One Word, The Energy Bus and The Seed : Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work .

Suhail Farooqui is CEO of K12 Insight, a company that specializes in survey design and deployment in public schools, and the impact of surveys and community-wide communication on public schools. He is widely recognized as a visionary helping America’s public schools become more relevant and effective at their core mission.

Rafe Esquith , an award-winning teacher at Hobart Boulevard Elementary School in Los Angeles, where he has taught since 1984. Many of his students, who are all from a community of poor and immigrant families, start class very early, leave late, and typically achieve high scores in standardized tests. Esquith has authored books about teaching and his annual class Shakespeare Productions was featured in the 2005 documentary The Hobart Shakespeareans.

We’ve invited Gubernatorial Candidates Pat Quinn & Bruce Rauner to come and talk about public education in a special conference session

This one still is in pencil and may remain so for right up to the conference because of the obvious complexities of scheduling that are involved, but we have been given indications that both candidates might take advantage of the opportunity to come and talk about one of the most important issues facing our state.


Conference Exhibitors

Lamp Incorporated Meemic Insurance Company Metropolitan School Employee Benefit Program (MSEBP) Midwest Transit Equipment My Learning Plan, Inc. Netchemia NuToys Leisure Products OpTerra Energy Services PMA Financial Network, Inc./ISDLAF+ Poettker Construction Company Project Learning Tree Quality Network Solutions Renaissance Learning S. M. Wilson & Co. Sandner Group Alternative Risk Solutions School Improvement Network Schoolwires Scientific Learning Corporation Security Alarm Corporation Skyward, Inc. SMART Technologies, Inc. SOCS Southern Illinois University Stalker Flooring Standard for Success Stifel Nicolaus The Egyptian Trust Thinkgate Tips Trane

Exhibit Hours Thursday, October 9 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Visit the exhibition hall to view the latest products and services available to school districts. A complimentary lunch for all conference attendees will be served in the exhibition hall from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Ace Sign Company Ameren AVSAB Career Exploration Program AXA Advisors Brecht's Database Solutions, Inc. BrightBytes Camelot Education Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA) Computer Information Concepts, Inc. CrisisGo eRate Program, LLC Gaggle GCA Education Services, Inc. GRP Horace Mann Companies Illinois Association of School Administrators Illinois Energy Consortium Illinois High School Association Illinois Principals Association Illinois School Administrators Political Action Committee Illinois Schools Employee Benefits Consortium (ISEBC) Istation JMO Mobile Modular LLC Kickboard


Conference Supporters

The IASA Annual Conference would not be possible without the generous support of our School Service Members. On behalf of the entire IASA community, it is with sincere gratitude that we acknowledge our 2014 IASA Annual Conference supporters.


 American Fidelity Assurance Company

 Discovery Education

 First Midstate Incorporated

 Miller, Tracy, Braun, Funk & Miller, Ltd.

ECRA Group, Inc.

 Horace Mann Companies

 ISDLAF+/PMA Financial Network, Inc.

Premier  Amplify  Environmental Consultants, Inc.  K-12 Insight, LLC

 Schoolwires Conference Photographer

Lifetouch School Portraits is the official photographer of the Illinois Association of School Administrators. The association appreciates the support and services provided by Lifetouch. Conference Videos Heroic Age Studios - provider of the video presentations on the 50 th Anniversary of IASA. Gym Bags Horace Mann Companies



Notice of Annual Meeting of the Illinois Association of School Administrators

The Annual Meeting of the Illinois Association of School Administrators will be held at 9:30 a.m., Friday, October 10, 2014, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 3000 South Dirksen Parkway in Springfield, IL. A Treasurer's Report and State of the Association Report will be given at that time.

Notice of proposed changes to IASA Bylaws: Allowing at-large member to hold IASA office up for vote on October 10 The IASA Board of Directors at its July meeting approved a proposed change to the IASA Bylaws that will go to the full membership for a vote during the Annual Meeting to be held October 10 at the Annual Conference. The proposed change would allow at-large members of the Board to hold IASA offices similar to other members representing IASA regions. The change would take effect upon approval by the membership. The proposed changes highlighted and underlined below include: Article VI – Board of Directors, Section 2 – Membership, Tenure and Qualifications: The Regional and At-Large, if applicable , directors shall be elected for a three-year term as normally scheduled or as vacancies occur by: (1) an election held by the membership of that Region if such election is scheduled and notice of that election is submitted in writing by March 15 by the director to the Association’s Executive Director; or (2) a primary and runoff election conducted through the office of the Association by May 1. Regional and At-Large, if applicable , directors shall assume their responsibilities on July 1 following their election and upon their signed acknowledgement of the IASA Code of Ethics policy. Article VII -- Officers, Section 1 -- Officers: The officers of the Association shall be the President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer and Immediate Past President. All officers shall be Active Members, except for the Immediate Past President, and shall have full membership rights, including the right to vote on the Board of Directors. The President, President-Elect, and Immediate Past President shall not serve as a director elected to represent one of the Association’s Regions. The Secretary and Treasurer shall be a director elected to represent one of the Association’s Regions. If the At-Large Director is elected to an officer position, the At-Large Member shall continue to represent the State as a whole. Article VII -- Officers, Section 3 – Election and Term of Office: The Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected to serve terms coterminous with their term as a Regional or At-Large Director . Neither the Office of Secretary nor Office of the Treasurer shall have any term limit. Election of Secretary and Treasurer shall be by the Board of Directors at the last scheduled meeting of the operating year. To be eligible to serve as an officer or a director, a person must be an Active Member of the Association.


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