Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Toney, Russell announce retirements

Two key members of the IASB staff have announced their retirements.

James Russell, associate executive director for Communications and Production Services in the Springfield office, has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31, 2017. Also retiring at the end of the year, Barbara B. Toney, IASB field services director for the DuPage, Lake, and North Cook divisions, announced her end-of-year retirement last month. She has been a dedicated staff member for 14 years and her service will be missed by school board members and her IASB colleagues alike.

Barbara B. Toney
Since joining the Association staff, Toney has worked directly with hundreds of school boards and thousands of school board members through presentations, trainings, and workshops. She offered particular expertise in supporting school board presidents and developing members’ proficiencies in parliamentary procedure.

Before she brought her dynamic approach to leadership to the IASB staff, Toney was a school board member at West Chicago SD 33 for 16 years – 14 years as president – and a member of the School Finance Authority in Hazel Crest SD 152.5 for 10 years.

Toney joined IASB in 2003 as one of the first consultants in the Targeting Achievement through Governance (TAG) program. After four years with TAG, she became a field services director in the Lake, Kishwaukee, and Northwest Divisions. Kishwaukee and Northwest gave way to DuPage and North Cook in 2010.

Prior to her work with IASB, Toney was a music teacher and later worked as a public information specialist for the Illinois State Board of Education in a project for children with disabilities.

When Toney runs the Chicago Marathon next October, it will be her 15th marathon. Many at IASB see her dedication to her professional craft is similarly unstoppable. She was recognized for her board work by IASB as a Master School Board member and twice was named Outstanding Board Member of the Year by the Illinois Association of School Administrators. She achieved the Burroughs Award in 1994, presented by ISBE to the state’s Outstanding School Board President. In 1991, she received the Those Who Excel Award of Excellence, also from ISBE.


James Russell
Russell is retiring after a 43-year career in communications and publications, including 17 years at IASB and 26 as a newspaper editor in Illinois and his home state of Ohio. He came to IASB in June 2000, hired by then Deputy Executive Director Jerry Glaub for the new position of director of publications.

“Part of our job was to preserve the institutional knowledge of this organization. I hope that we built and added to that repository,” Russell said. “How we preserve and deliver those resources continues to evolve. We are now reaching our members across multiple venues and platforms. I’m sure that will change as the Association adapts to what our members need and want. We have an excellent staff and solid partnerships in place to continue that work. I’m awfully proud to have been a part of it.”

Russell served under three IASB executive directors: Wayne Sampson, Michael D. Johnson, and Roger Eddy. Named an associate executive director in 2010, Russell is responsible for the Association’s communications and production services department, which includes a staff of 10. The work includes information services/library/bookstore, three websites, databases and directories, social media platforms, book publishing, the Illinois School Boards Journal, the Illinois School Board News Blog (formerly the Newsbulletin), media monitoring and queries, design, typesetting, printing, and mailing operations, conference planning, publications, and presentations. He also chaired the Association’s centennial anniversary observation in 2013.

Stepping into Russell’s role on Jan. 1 will be Kara Kienzler, currently director of production services, who has led the Association’s graphic design, typesetting, printing, bindery, and book orders work since 2013.


“A lot has happened over the past 17 years, but the pace of changes in public education and board service will only increase in the years ahead,” Russell says. “IASB has helped to keep members current by always looking ahead and anticipating member needs.”