Front Page

By Theresa Kelly Gegen

This issue of the Illinois School Board Journal opens the new year by reflecting on some of the key topics that education leaders discussed in 2023; these key school governance conversations will continue into 2024.

Last time out, the Journal had more contributions on equity top­ics than we could fit in one publi­cation, so we have carried some of those conversations over into the new year. It’s an opportunity to look again at educational equity in school districts and leadership issues concerning equity, diversity, and inclusion.

We thank our collaborators at the Latino Policy Forum for shar­ing their work. “Newcomers” is an umbrella term for newly arrived foreign-born students who typi­cally do not have mastery of the English language and who have families who may be unfamiliar with the U.S. school system. In “Serving Newcomer Students: Voices From the Field,” starting on page 21, discover what’s new in supporting newcomer students and what districts are doing to welcome them and work towards quality public education for all.

In this Journal, readers will also continue a deep dive into “Crucial Characteristics of Leaders of Integ­rity” with Part II in the series by Don Parker. This series explores the multifaceted ways that leader integrity impacts school equity and this issue’s installment, starting on page 33, covers the topic of ethical leadership, which is vital if one is to be a driving force that not only aspires to but also achieves educa­tional equity.

Still a key conversation heading into 2024 and beyond, the educa­tor shortage continues to prompt searches for solutions. The Jour­nal’s frequent voices on the topic, and a few new voices, have con­tributed their latest thoughts on this issue: Some good news, some bad news, and some proposals for the future. Read commentary by Jim Rosborg and Ralph Grimm, “Teacher Shortage: Combining Strategies for Retention, Attrition, and Recruitment,” on page 29. We will have another article on this important topic in the next issue: “Ensuring the Future: A New Pipeline for Preparing Teachers Must Be a Top Priority” by Hans Andrews and Greg Rockhold. Thanks to all for keeping this topic in perspective and in sight.

While recalling, reviewing, and celebrating the last Joint Annual Conference, as readers can do starting on page 11, we are also already talking about how to make the 2024 Conference even better. It will be a tough act to follow. We hope participants at the 2023 event were able to experience the moments of uplift and take plen­ty of ideas and solutions back to their districts and communities, and that everyone involved found value in the opportunity to “Learn Together. Lead Together.”

As school board members in Illinois enter the new year, we thank you for your service. The work is challenging in the best of times, and your commitment to your school districts and com­munities is to be applauded. Also, thanks for reading the Journal. We encourage members to take advan­tage of this publication and every­thing else IASB has to offer, and let us know if we can assist further.
Theresa Kelly Gegen is the Editor of the Illinois School Board Journal and can be reached at