2021 Second General Session

Anthony Jack: Be Unapologetic, Be Bold, Be You 

Leading off his keynote with a question for the Second General Session audience, “How can one be both privileged and poor?” asked Anthony Jack. 

Jack, an author, sociologist, and assistant professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, wove his own experiences and years of study about higher education opportunities and diversity into answering the question. 

“Access ain’t inclusion,” said Jack, reiterating that the many diverse groups of students have shared beginnings, but lead very different lives. “We overlook the diversity of experiences and that shapes policy.” 

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Jack reiterated the importance of ensuring the rights and privileges of opportunity extend to everyone and that we must, “Hold our institutions and ourselves to higher standards.”   

“Language matters; in very real ways it can serve as barriers or bridges,” said Jack. 

At the conclusion of his speech, Jack gave those in attendance a message to take back to their districts, “In your work with the next generation; be unapologetic, be bold, and be you.” 

Earlier in the session, the Illinois Association of School Business Officials (Illinois ASBO) presented its Distinguished Service Award recognizing individuals for diligence, superior performance, and achievements in service to the school business community.  

Gary Grizaffi of Valley View CUSD 365-U was named the 2021 Everett Distinguished Service Award winner. Grizaffi began his school service mowing the grass and cleaning boilers in the summer as a kid. He moved on to become an assistant business official in payroll and then onto the business manager position in the elementary school he attended as a student.  

“Education has been in my blood and I’ve never left the profession,” said Grizaffi in his acceptance video. His colleagues describe him as someone who is always willing to listen and learn, and takes the time to look at various different perspectives.  

“He likes visiting all our different buildings and all our departments. He enjoys looking at all the improvements in our buildings and how the schools are utilizing those improvements. He gets a lot of good feedback from the staff,” said Joanne Bourg, director of accounting for Valley View CUSD 356-U. 

“Illinois ASBO has really taught me the benefits of servant leadership. When I broke into the profession, I was in awe of the people that I saw leading the organization and I aspired to be in that role,” Grizaffi concluded. 

IASB past presidents and executive directors in attendance were also honored during the Second General Session.