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2009 Superintendent of the Year

Superintendent Edward F. Rafferty, leader of Schaumburg CCSD 54, was named the 2010 Illinois Superintendent of the Year on Saturday Nov. 21, at the Second General Session of the 2009 Conference. The award is sponsored by the Illinois Association of School Administrators.

Rafferty was selected from among 868 Illinois superintendents. He will represent Illinois in the National Superintendent of the Year competition during the 2010 AASA National Conference in the spring. The National Superintendent of the Year Award will be announced at that conference and a $10,000 college scholarship will be presented in the name of the winner.

"While I am proud of the successes District 54 has experienced in the past five years, I cannot take the credit alone. I share this award with our board of education, my fellow administrators, our teaching and support staff, our parents, our partners, our volunteers and the 14,000 students who attend our schools each day," Rafferty said. "By working together, we can ensure student success in District 54."

He added that students "are at the heart of every decision" the District 54 school board makes.

Rafferty spent his entire career in District 54 after being hired as a special education teacher in 1976. Before becoming superintendent, Rafferty was the assistant superintendent of special services, a director of special services, a coordinator for behavior disorder services, a Truant Alternative Program specialist and a teacher of students with behavior disorders.

He was appointed superintendent in 2004 when 76 percent of the district's students were meeting or exceeding state standards in reading and 80 percent of the district's students were meeting or exceeding state standards in math, based on state assessment data.

While these scores were above state averages, Rafferty said an in-depth evaluation of the district indicated that achievement was flat, students were not making the kind of progress that one would hope to see, there was no consistent or guaranteed curriculum, and effective systems were not in place to support struggling students.

In 2007, Rafferty and the school board led a strategic planning process resulting in a new mission, vision statements, collective commitments for all school district stakeholders, and goals that he said were designed to be measurable, challenging and achievable. The following goals were adopted:

  • Students who have attended District 54 schools for at least one year will read at grade level upon entering third grade
  • Each school will close the achievement gap for all students in reading and math as measured by both district and state assessments
  • At least 90% of all students will meet or exceed standards in reading and math as measured by both district and state assessments

"At this five-year mark in Ed's tenure as superintendent, we feel it is important to acknowledge the contributions of a humble, quiet, effective leader and what his vision and commitment have meant to the students of the district," said Karen Strykowski, president of the District 54 Board of Education.

"We, the Board of Education of School District 54, believe that Ed Rafferty is most deserving of recognition as Illinois Superintendent of the Year based on the tremendous effort he has made over the last five years to ensure the success of the students of District 54. This is a defining moment in District 54; that in spite of the higher expectations of NCLB and the economic challenges, we have never seen student achievement at a higher level and within the confines of a balanced budget."

Rafferty has served on the Illinois Attorney General Special Education Committee, the Illinois Resource Center Board of Directors and the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education. He also is the past president of Illinois Special Olympics and was instrumental in bringing the Special Olympics program to School District 54.

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