The Department of Educational Administration and Foundations (EAF) awarded outstanding leaders in P-20 education at its third annual EAF on the Red Carpet Gala on May 5. With more than 200 in attendance from across the Midwest, attendees were a who’s who of administrators, teachers, students, and state representatives.
The event included a formal program and, true to its name, a red carpet runway for honorees.
The program paid tribute to the faculty, staff, and alumni who helped to build EAF’s reputation as a top preparer of educational leaders and spotlighted the individuals who are carrying the torch into the next generation.
Among the awards given were the principal and superintendent of the year and recognition for the dissertation of the year and Ben C. Hubbard Leadership Award.
“The individuals we recognized are spearheading positive change as educators and policymakers by going above and beyond to improve school environments where all students can learn and grow,” said Len Sutton, EAF chair. “We’re honored to provide them with recognition; they deserve this and so much more.”
Superintendent of the Year
Todd Dugan, superintendent at New Holland-Middletown Elementary District 88, has championed high-quality and innovative curricular offerings for students in small remote, rural, and high-poverty learning communities. His leadership and research on disrupting inequity in schools earned him wide acclaim, including by the International Society of Technology in Education. Through Dugan’s exemplary leadership, his district was recognized as a frontrunner for curriculum innovation and as a laboratory of student performance and sustained growth. In 2017, he was recognized by Tech & Learning Magazine for his part in the implementation of technology in his New Holland-Middletown.
Principal of the Year
Jeff Geringer, principal of Bent Elementary School in Bloomington is an exemplary leader whose work underscores the purpose of the award, to recognize a school leader who embodies the democratic ideal—to support all students. Geringer led a collaborative effort to create a supportive learning environment for teachers and students in his learning community, which serves high-need student populations and promising elementary-age bilingual learners. He also serves as a mentor for EAF’s aspiring principals, fully immersing the program’s interns into the work of the school leader. His servant leadership is constantly on display, as one nominator commented that “Jeff can also be found sweeping and mopping floors daily; further testament to his commitment to the best possible outcomes and conditions for students.”
Ben C. Hubbard Leadership Award
State Representative William Davis and State Senator Andy Manar received this award for their instrumental role in the development and passage of SB 1947 in 2017. Their work ended the outdated public-school funding system in the state, and replaced it with an evidence-based system. The new bill will reduce the historically widening disparities of resources available for students. The work has taken more than a decade, with numerous task forces, proposals, and political fights. Davis and Manar were tireless in their pursuit of a viable solution for equitable fund distributions. While the serious problem of funding adequacy remains, SB 1947 represents an important and giant step forward.
CPED Dissertation of the Year
The 2018 recipient of the The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) Dissertation of the Year Award is Nicholas Henkle. He is currently the superintendent at Channahon School District. He received his Ed.D. from Illinois State University in Educational Administration and Foundations–P-20 (CPED) Administration Doctoral Program.