Sunday, November 26, 2017

Award for top board president
goes to Franklin Park’s Ignoffo

Gregory Ignoffo, president of Leyden Community High School District 212, was presented with the 2017 Thomas Lay Burroughs Award at the Joint Annual Conference on Sunday as the state’s outstanding school board president.

Ignoffo has been a member of the Board of Education in Franklin Park for 18 years, including 12 years as president.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) presents the board presidency award each November. ISBE created the award in 1991 in memory of the late ISBE chairman, to recognize “extraordinary local leadership, in particular in advancing student learning and educational excellence, expanding equal educational opportunities, and resolving major crises or difficulties.”

According to presenter and ISBE board member Ruth Cross, Ignoffo “led a one-to-one technology initiative that was one of the first in the nation to use Google Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education (now G Suite).”

ISBE also noted that the initiative secured a device for every student, but not all students had web access in their homes. Ignoffo partnered with Sprint’s ConnectEd Initiative to secure free WiFi hotspots for all students in need and worked with the District 212 board to require that all new school buses purchased have WiFi, ensuring equitable access to digital learning for all students.

Ignoffo also helped to develop the plan for a five-year, $80 million renovation project for two high schools, according to Cross, including one that is nearly 100 years old. The renovations will include a new daycare and preschool facility that will provide a local daycare option for families and double as a learning lab for students to earn industry child care credentials.

Cross quoted Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens’ opinion that “Greg is the perfect example of what a leader should be.” In a statement submitted in support of Ignoffo’s nomination, the mayor said “When Greg asks, ‘What's best for our students?’ he truly means it, and will stop at nothing to make sure that is the most important issue when making a decision.”

Leyden CHSD 212’s numerous awards and distinctions demonstrate Ignoffo’s continuous pursuit of improvement and excellence in serving students. Leyden CHSD 212 recently received the AdvancED District Accreditation (2010, 2015), College Board National Advanced Placement District of the Year (2014), Chicago Tribune Top 100 Workplaces (2015, 2016, 2017), National School Board Association Magna Award (2015), Digital Content and Curriculum Award - Center for Digital Education (2014), and District of Distinction - District Administration Magazine (2015).

“Greg Ignoffo leads for the whole child, whole school, and whole community,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith. “He makes sure every student in his district receives what they need to prepare for college and career, whether that’s a computer, academic coaching, or the personal attention of a mentor.”

In receiving the award, Ignoffo told the the 3rd General Session audience, “It is really such an honor to be singled out for something that I have such a passion for, and gives me such joy. On Monday morning I received a call from our Superintendent, Dr. Nick Polyak, stating that I was to receive this honor. Then I realized, ‘how fortunate am I to receive this award in a year when nobody else was nominated,’” he joked, adding:   “Thank you, but we all know this award for me is really for we.”