Friday, August 30, 2019

Four join IASB staff

Patricia Sullivan-Viniard
Patricia Sullivan-Viniard, Ed.D., has joined IASB as a consultant with the Executive Searches department.

Sullivan-Viniard recently retired as superintendent of LaGrange Highlands SD 106 following a career in education that spanned 37 years. Beginning as a teacher, she taught elementary education, high school special education, and junior and senior high English language arts. She then moved into administration. While serving as principal of an elementary school, the school received numerous honors, including the National Blue Ribbon School and Illinois Spotlight School awards. She also served as an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for many years, before moving into the superintendency.

Lori Grant
She received her undergraduate degree in elementary and special education from Quincy University and a Master’s Degree in English from Western Illinois University. She earned a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Western, which included conducting research regarding gifted education practices that promote or hinder equity. Her research received the Robert F. Hall Dissertation Award for excellence in dissertation research, and she was selected to present her research at the American Education Research Association’s conference. She has presented on various topics at Title I conferences, the IASA/IASB/IASBO Joint Conference, and for many school districts. She also served for several years on ISBE’s Consolidated Committee of Practitioners.

Nakia Hall
As a member of IASB‘s Executive Search team, Sullivan-Viniard assists school districts in recruiting and selecting a superintendent or other key administrator. The department, led by Thomas Leahy, offers expertise and processes to help school boards determine their next superintendent or other administrator. This includes conducting a needs assessment, collecting candidate information, screening and interviewing candidates, and maintaining contact with educational agents.

IASB has welcomed two new individuals to the staff, both working in the Lombard office as Field Services Directors.

Lori Grant was a teacher, music department chair, and instructional coach before transitioning to the private sector. Most recently Grant was a Divisional Trainer for Gordon Food Service. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Ohio State University and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from Aurora University.

Nakia Hall, Ed.D., also joins the IASB team after a career in education. Hall was an elementary school teacher, adult learning English as a Second Language instructor, writing lab coordinator, and adjunct professor. She was recently owner and CEO of Executive Order Leadership Development Firm. Hall earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, and Master of Arts and Doctor in Education degrees from Olivet Nazarene University. She also is finishing up 10 years as a
Isaac Warren
board member for Crete-Monee CUSD 201U.

Field Services Directors are the primary staff contacts responsible for assuring that member district needs are met by the Association.

Isaac Warren has joined the Communications and Production Services department as assistant director of digital communication, bringing the Association his expertise in graphic design and layout, video recording and editing, 3D rendering of graphics, social media, and writing and editing.
Warren is a 2019 graduate of Greenville University with a bachelor’s degree in Digital Media. Prior to that he earned an associate’s degree in Journalism from Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield. His undergraduate work included serving as news editor of The Lamp student newspaper at LLCC and The Vista, Greenville’s student magazine.

Also at Greenville, Warren worked with Greenville SMART to create 3D renders of floor plans for a building undergoing renovation. In 2017, he interned at the Sangamon County Farm Bureau. He was a videographer, video editor, and camp counselor for Kanakuk Kamps in the summer of 2018.

The assistant director of digital communication is a new title at IASB. Warren replaces Gary Adkins, who has worked for 32 years in IASB’s Communications department.  As director of editorial services, editor of the Illinois School Board News Blog and its predecessor, the Newsbulletin, and contributor to numerous other projects, Adkins retires on August 31 having written and edited millions of words for IASB.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Training offered for those seeking superintendent position

IASB is continuing its partnership with the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) to offer one-day professional development seminars for those seeking to join the ranks of superintendent. “Seeking the Superintendency” seminars will be available in Springfield and Lisle during the month of September.

“IASB and IASA have been offering this Professional Advancement Seminar for 42 years.

Participants will hear from the IASB search staff in regard to the vacancy and application process. They will also hear from IASA Executive Director Dr. Brent Clark and Sara Boucek, IASA associate director/legal counsel,” said IASB Executive Searches Director Tom Leahy.

A number of topics to assist those who are interested in pursuing a superintendent position will be on the agenda.  Attendees will hear from executive search consultants and legal experts about the process of filling vacancies and where and how to learn of superintendent job openings. Additionally, registrants will discuss the interview process, job strategies, and what should be included in their portfolio when applying.

Presenters will also cover the contract process, including assessing a potential offer and reviewing an employment contract.

“I know from personal experience when I was seeking the superintendency that my attendance at this event nearly 30 years ago gave me the confidence and tools necessary to move forward to obtain the superintendent position,” continued Leahy.

Seeking the Superintendency” seminars will be presented at the Universal Technical Institute in Lisle on September 5 and at the IASB Springfield office on September 19. A third offering will be available January 15, 2020 at IASB’s Springfield office.

Registration is $175 per attendee and includes materials, a copy of the Illinois School Law Survey, continental breakfast, and lunch. Online registration is available by using an IASB member account or contacting IASB at 217/528-9688, ext. 1145.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-25

Governor JB Pritzker has completed action on all bills that have been sent to him by the General Assembly. The legislature approved 600 bills this spring that required action by the Governor. The Governor signed most all of them into law. Seven bills were vetoed – most of those being duplicative of other bills that already had been signed. One bill was issued an amendatory veto.

Of the 600 bills passed, nearly 20 percent either directly or indirectly affected local school districts. The Digest of Bills Passed contains a summary of all of these bills.

Click here to read the full Alliance Legislative Report 101-25, including the bills recently signed.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

School designs submitted for awards

Projects will be invited to
display at the Conference in
Chicago, on November 22-24.
Twenty-four school design projects have been submitted for judging in the 2019 Invitational Exhibition of Educational Environments.

Awards in the 29th annual competition will be decided by a jury comprised of three school administrators and three architects at IASB office in Springfield on September 12. The event is sponsored by IASB Service Associates.

Design projects to be judged are limited to new or renovated facilities owned or operated by or for Illinois public school districts, used for instructional, recreational, administrative, or other purposes, and completed in time for occupancy with the start of school in Fall 2019.

The jury will select projects to receive Awards of Distinction, which is the highest level, as well as Awards of Merit and Honorable Mention. Projects will be invited to display throughout the three-day Joint Annual Conference in Chicago, November 22-24.

A description of last year’s winners can be viewed here.

All 24 entries will be added to IASB’s School Design Data File. This searchable online database is available for use by school districts and architectural firms and is updated each year after the competition. It currently contains more than 500 Illinois public school design projects in a database housed on the IASB website.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Ensure transparency in Conference attendance by using sample policies

IASB encourages school boards planning to attend the Joint Annual Conference to be pro-active in documenting their professional development experiences and expenses at Conference.

One way to do that is to adopt a policy that addresses mandatory professional development for board members and permits and encourages other ongoing leadership training opportunities for those who have volunteered to serve their community as unpaid school board members.

IASB’s Policy Reference Education Subscription Service (PRESS) has a sample policy, 2:120, Board Member Development, on this topic. It provides sample text for school boards regarding issues related to setting parameters for board member training. Boards can use the guidance to set parameters on governance concerns (ensuring that board members learn, understand, and practice effective governance principles and other best practices). Boards can use that sample text, as well, to set parameters on three types of mandatory training (105 ILCS 5/10-16a (professional development leadership training); 105 ILCS 5/24-16.5 (Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) training); and 5 ILCS 120/1.05(b) (Open Meetings Act training)).

The major purpose and function of the sample PRESS policy on board member professional development is to provide information and guidance to staff members, students, parents, and community. It paraphrases the mandatory board member training statutes and provides information to the community (see Policy background information below).

The Joint Annual Conference provides both mandatory and governance-related training to school board members and administrators through a full-day Pre-Conference PDLT Workshop and many other presentations, workshops, and exhibits on school governance and leadership, education funding, student learning and achievement, school law and technology, as well as current education issues and best practices.

Also calling for transparency at Conference are expenses, and PRESS offers two sample policies on the topic: 2:125, Board Member Compensation; Expenses (for board member expenses), and 5:60, Expenses (employee expenses). State law controls both of these policies’ content (105 ILCS 5/10-9, 5/10-10, and 5/22-1 (no compensation allowed, conflicts of interest prohibited); 105 ILCS 5/10-22.32 (expense advancements); and the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act (ECA) 50 ILCS 150/10 (regulation of travel expenses)). School attorneys say complying with the law is the purpose and function of these sample PRESS policies on expenses (see Policy background information below).

Boards may wish to review and communicate about their existing policies or consider adopting a policy before attending the 2019 Joint Annual Conference, which is scheduled for November 22-24 in Chicago.

Policy background information
Consistent with the legislative intent expressed in the School Code, school boards govern through written policies that are implemented by the administration. The job of drafting board policies is frequently given to lawyers to ensure legal compliance. The law is never stagnant, which explains why board policies frequently need review and updating. At IASB, lawyers draft and revise sample PRESS policies and use a diverse PRESS advisory board (PAB) to provide feedback. IASB policy consultants provide a wide range of policy services from customization to a maintenance service.
The key to understanding a policy is to understand its purpose(s) or function(s). Without understanding the policy’s purpose or function, the policy will not make sense and will be difficult to implement. Each policy has one or more of the following basic functions or purposes:
  1. Ensure legal compliance,
  2. Direct or authorize the superintendent or staff members,
  3. Establish board processes, and/or
  4. Provide information.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-24

Governor JB Pritzker continued working through the 600 bills that were approved by the General Assembly and sent to his desk. Many of the new Public Acts have an immediate effect on school districts. While some of the bills recently signed allow for greater flexibility for local districts, there are many that may also have serious repercussions.

One of the most consequential bills signed into law is HB 2078 (Stuart, D-Collinsville). In yearly increments, HB 2078 increases the minimum teacher salary to $40,000 per year. The minimum salary increase would be phased in as follows:

  • Not less than $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year, 
  • Not less than $34,576 for the 2021-2022 school year, 
  • Not less than $37,076 for the 2022-2023 school year, and 
  • Not less than $40,000 for the 2023-2024 school year.

Following the 2023-24 school year and each year thereafter, subject to review by the General Assembly, the minimum teacher salary shall be increased by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the previous school year. The bill is now Public Act 101-0443, effective January 1, 2020.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

IASB announces dates for Fall Division Meetings

Mark your calendars now for IASB’s Division Meetings for Fall 2019, which will convene at 21 sites throughout the state in October.

Each of IASB’s divisions hosts a meeting in the spring and fall. Most school board members attend the meeting within their home division, but all are encouraged to attend a meeting outside their division if a different date, site, or topic is better suited to their calendar, location, or interests.

Division Meetings offer networking opportunities and updates from Association staff, division directors, and division chairpersons. Meetings also offer keynote or breakout sessions on a variety of important education topics for school leaders. Dates are listed below; a full list of presentation topics will be announced at a later date.

Online registration is required and can be completed through IASB’s “My Account” button at Attendance at Division Meetings earns participants five points in IASB’s Master Board Member Program.







October 1


Dupo CUSD 196

October 1

Starved Rock

Waltham CCSD 185, Utica (No Dinner/No Cost)

October 1

Three Rivers

Prairie Bluff Golf Club, Lockport

October 1

Wabash Valley

Jasper Co. CUSD 1, Newton

October 2

Central Illinois Valley

Caterpillar Visitors Center, Peoria

October 3

Abe Lincoln

New Berlin CUSD 16

October 3


Mattoon CUSD 2

October 8


Harrisburg CUSD 3

October 10

Corn Belt

Indian Creek Country Club, Fairbury

October 10


DuQuoin CUSD 300

October 16

North Cook

Café la Cave, Des Plaines

October 22


Bunker Hill CUSD 8

October 22

West Cook

Elmcrest Banquets, Elmwood Park

October 22


Knoxville CUSD 202

October 24


United THSD 30, East Moline

October 24


Sycamore CUSD 427

October 24

Two Rivers

Beardstown CUSD 15

October 29


DoubleTree by Hilton, Libertyville-Mundelein

October 29

South Cook

DoubleTree, Chicago-Alsip

October 30


The Carlisle, Lombard

October 30


Winnebago CUSD 323



Friday, August 16, 2019

Alliance Legislative Report 101-23

Governor JB Pritzker has been signing into law dozens of measures every week as he works through the 600 bills that were approved by the General Assembly and sent to his desk. Just last Friday, the Governor acted upon 150 pieces of legislation.

Many of the recent bill signings were bills opposed by the Alliance that will cause challenges for local school districts. The Alliance offered amendatory language in most cases to try to make the bills less onerous for school districts. Letters were also written to the Governor asking for vetoes or amendatory vetoes, but instead the bills have been enacted into law.

HB 2719 (Stuart, D-Collinsville) will require each high school student to complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a prerequisite to receive a graduation diploma. There is a provision for a waiver form to be completed by the student declaring that he/she is aware of the FAFSA application but chooses not to file one. The school district would be responsible for providing, verifying, and collecting the waiver forms. The high school principal shall "attest that the school district has made a good faith effort to assist the student." Also, the school district "must provide to each high school student any support or assistance necessary to comply with this Section." The bill is now Public Act 101-0180, effective June 1, 2020.

Several new curricular mandates have been approved as well. 

HB 246 (Moeller, D-Elgin) requires schools to teach about the diversity of our society, including the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in society. The bill is now Public Act 101-0227, effective July 1, 2020.

HB 2265 (Lilly, D-Oak Park) requires every public elementary school to include in its sixth, seventh, or eighth-grade curriculum at least one semester of civics education. The bill is now Public Act 101-0254, effective July 1, 2020.

SB 459 (Ellman, D-Naperville) amends the Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive Health Education Act to require the instruction on mental health and illness to evaluate the multiple dimensions of health by reviewing the relationship between physical and mental health so as to enhance student understanding, attitudes, and behaviors that promote health, well-being, and human dignity. The bill is now Public Act 101-0305, effective January 1, 2020.

SB 1601 (Sims, D-Chicago), with regard to the instruction on history of the United States, requires that the course must also include instruction on the history of Illinois. The bill is now Public Act 101-0341, effective January 1, 2020.


NSBA Summer Leadership Seminar in Chicago

The 2019 NSBA Summer Leadership Seminar for IASB officers and executives and other state’s school board association leaders are being held August 16-18 in Chicago.

The conference focuses on leadership sessions for state association officers, as well as updates on federal issues. Other highlights include: opportunities for regional and peer-to-peer networking, a look at key trends, as well as an exploration of collaboration, shared vision, innovation, and leadership development.

Attending from IASB will be: Executive Director Tom Bertrand, as well as Association officers, including: President Joanne Osmond, Vice President Thomas Neeley, Immediate Past President Phil Pritzker, and Treasurer Linda Eades.

“The great thing about this seminar is that it provides sessions and exercises to help participants better understand their role as motivators, leaders, and change agents,” said IASB Executive Director Tom Bertrand.

The seminar has been held in Chicago for many years. The agenda for this year’s event includes exercises for sharing state association perspectives.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Board member resources featured in next noon webinar, August 22

The next installments in IASB’s noon webinar series will resume the “Lunch and Learn” format and take place on August 22. The series resumed with Holding the Gavel: Tips for Board Presidents featured tips and best practices for board presidents, or aspiring ones in a one-hour webinar on August 13.

Next up, on August 22, the webinar entitled “Lucky 7s: Questions, Answers, and Resources for New and Experienced Board Members” will feature seven Qs and As from IASB’s legal and field services teams, as well as the top seven resources that all board members should have at their fingertips. The Thursday, August 22 webinar will take place from noon to 1 p.m.

IASB’s lunch-time webinars are free to members. Registration for the webinars is available through IASB's Online Learning Center. Visit, and select the yellow "My Account" button to log in. From there, choose the Online Learning tab at the top of the page.

If you can’t participate in the live webinar, plan to “attend” the archive version, which will be available 24-48 hours after the live event. All past webinars, on topics ranging from school funding and educational equity to pensions and policy updates, are available through IASB’s Online Learning Center archive free of charge.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Time to submit nominations
for 2019 Holly Jack Award

2018 winner
Linda Wehrheim,
Winnetka SD 36
School districts throughout Illinois are encouraged to nominate those who perform the duties of the board secretary for IASB’s Holly Jack Outstanding Service Award. Application forms are available on the IASB website.

Nominees must be local district employees (superintendent’s secretary, superintendent’s administrative assistant, or school board recording secretary) who have performed the duties of a board secretary for a minimum of five years. Qualifications include a passion for work in the field of public education, dedication toward improving the quality of life for others and education in the community, independent problem-solving abilities, constant desire for self-improvement, and innovation and imagination within the work environment.

The nomination form needs to be signed by the superintendent and the board president. Letters of support from individuals, either inside or outside the district, may be submitted with the form, but are limited to no more than five. The deadline for submitting all related nomination materials is September 30, 2019.

The recognition was created to honor the memory of long-time IASB employee Holly Jack, who worked as a field services administrative assistant and was instrumental in developing the Administrative Professionals' Program offered at the Joint Annual Conference.

The award will be presented in November at the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago during the Administrative Professionals’ Program.

For more information, contact Peggy Goone by phone at 217/528-9688, ext. 1103; or by email at