Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year. My hope as we begin this school year is we all have awakened to the great potential that lies ahead when we put the passion of our words into action on behalf of our schoolchildren.
Last year, several ROE #11 superintendents traveled to Springfield to advocate for local control on behalf of their school communities. Throughout the course of the year, I addressed the Illinois State Board of Education on five different occasions in an attempt to restore local control on critical decisions involving how our schools will teach children. Mandates and requirements shifted the focus away from what is really important: ensuring our children can safely learn together with their teachers in their classrooms.
Today, I believe our strong collective voices for local control of our schools and the focus on the foundation of education will make a positive difference for all students and families in our region and across the state.
These issues will not go away in this new school year. We must expect more extreme policies and mandates forced on our districts from those in leadership who believe they know better from far away, disconnected from the needs of our students, school districts, and communities. We will have to deal with the aftermath.
My sincere hope and belief is that we can turn this newfound energy into a positive. Educators, this is our opportunity to shine: let’s go back to why we wanted to be in the classroom in the first place and help our students reach their full potential – one subject and one day at a time. Parents, we need your help now more than ever: volunteer at your school, make sure your students are rested and ready to learn when they are here, and let’s show those who want to interfere that together we are the most powerful force to help our children reach their goals.
I want the 2022-2023 school year to finally return to educating our children, in person, together, without fear and with a renewed determination to succeed. We all could use some normalcy this year!
We start this year in ROE #11 with exciting times ahead. We complete major construction projects and programming additions in Charleston and Mattoon, open up a district wide school health center in Paris, and eagerly await plans to upgrade existing facilities in Neoga and Sullivan, to name a few.
I know our staff is eager to make education the great equalizer. We are excited to help our educators get properly licensed and better prepared for success in the classroom, to provide a safe learning environment, and to bring everyone together to strive for the goal of student growth after a few difficult years of strife and division.
Let’s stand behind our schools as they make this year one that empowers our educators, puts our students first, and propels education forward in East Central Illinois.