District 214 superintendent honored for expertise and leadership

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High School District 214 Superintendent Dr. David R. Schuler has been named the 2017 Superintendent of Distinction by his colleagues in the North Cook Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA).

Schuler was honored at an awards luncheon April 24 in Springfield. State Superintendent Dr. Tony Smith was the featured speaker at the luncheon where 21 IASA regional Superintendents of Distinction were honored.

“There are so many deserving colleagues who spend their days championing the truly amazing things we do in public education. This is an incredibly humbling honor, and truly one of the most special achievements of my career. I will do my best to represent North Cook well, and continue working, alongside my peers, to change the national narrative on public education,” said Schuler, who has been in education 24 years, the last 12 years as superintendent of District 214. He served as superintendent at two schools in Wisconsin and he also previously served in that state as a teacher, activities director and principal, among other roles.

Those nominating Schuler noted his knack for creating opportunities to help break down barriers of college access for an increasingly diverse student body. Accomplishments cited include:

  • Helping keep all six high schools in the district among the best in the state despite poverty numbers that have more than doubled, from 10 percent to 25 percent, in the past 10 years.
  • Helping the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) design and implement the national Redefining Ready! initiative that is designed to redefine what it means to be ready for postsecondary success.
  • Helping establish the Northwest Educational Council for Student Success, a partnership of districts and the community college to infuse innovation in the classroom, and Harper Promise, a multi-district partnership with Harper College to provide full-tuition scholarships to students who meet specific criteria during their high school career.
  • Creating the Power of 15 program that stresses the importance of entering college with at least 15 credits through dual-credit courses. District 214 students have earned more than 27,000 early college credits.
  • Guiding staff to create a comprehensive Career Pathways program that offers personalized learning experiences through early college credit, internships and career credentials.
  • Identifying and supporting future teachers through the Educator Prep program, a teacher preparatory program that provides resources, dual-credit, mentoring and job placement through partnerships.
  • Engaging industry and community partners in an internship program that has been recognized by the White House and annually offers more than 3,000 internship experiences.
  • Helping to write, champion and pass legislation requiring every Illinois public college and university to accept Advanced Placement (AP) scores of 3 or higher to eliminate disparity and ensure better access to early college credit. Also, expanding AP class access, resulting in the number of AP exams taken by students in District 214 having tripled in the past 12 years, with 75 percent of the students receiving a 3 or higher.
  • Encouraging students to complete career certifications, with more than 600 earning certifications in areas like healthcare, manufacturing and computer programming since 2008.
  • Creating a district-wide Education Foundation to provide assistance for things such as AP tests for students who cannot afford them and college visits for first-generation students and their parents.
  • Introducing a 1:1 iPad initiative, resulting in transformational learning.

Schuler served as President of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) in 2015-16, which is when the Redefining Ready! program was launched. He has won numerous professional honors, including the 2016 Bob Grossman Leadership in School Communication Award and the Distinguished Service Award from AASA. In 2009, he was named a “Top Educator under 40” by Scholastic Administrator Magazine, and in 2015 he was recognized as one of the “Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers” by the Center for Digital Education.

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