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Flynn named Superintendent of the Year

Peter F. Flynn, superintendent of Freeport School District 145, has been selected the 2012 Illinois Superintendent of the Year by the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA). The award was presented on Nov. 19 during the second general session of the 2011 Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

Flynn joined Freeport schools in 2000, bringing 21 years of school superintendent experience and leadership at districts in Pennsylvania, Iowa and Kentucky. His ability to provide purpose, direction and motivation fundamentally changed the path of the Freeport district.

But Flynn’s own path was not always smoothly paved.

“I was an average kid in Poughkeepsie, New York,” he said.   “‘He’s not college material’ is what my parents heard,” he confessed, and for a while those words seemed prophetic.

Yet he persevered by working two jobs through high school, and eventually joining the Job Corps, “where I worked with my future wife – that was a life-changing experience,” he said. It led him to pursue an opportunity to attend college, and eventually to go on to a “48-plus year career in education,” he said, noting that his own story is “a reflection of the value of equity in education.”

His board president, Gary Maxey, nominated Flynn for the award, noting: “Peter Flynn arrived during a critical time in our district 12 years ago - a time when equity issues were coming to a head, both within the district and the larger community.

“One of Peter’s first important actions, alongside the board of education, was the crafting of a memorandum of understanding agreement between the primary group calling for change, our school district, and the teachers’ union.

“The partnership Peter established brought about significant operational improvements, and has flourished over the years. It has led to a more equitable treatment of minority students and a narrowing of the achievement gap. Furthermore, he created and sustains an atmosphere in which diversity is both respected and appreciated,” according to Maxey.

His leadership skills have also been obvious to others. The Illinois State Board of Education selected Flynn as one of “Those who Excel” in 2008, receiving the highest honor given to superintendents by ISBE when he was recognized with an Award of Excellence.

He is a trained member of the Board of Examiners for the Lincoln Foundation for Performance Excellence, a statewide foundation that assists and guides organizations as they seek continuous improvement and excellence. In addition, he served five years as a board member of IASA and was an active member of the Urban Superintendents Association of America, including a term as president. He is currently serving his second term as President of the Century Club, a national superintendents’ honorary.

Flynn will represent Illinois in the National Superintendent of the Year Recognition Ceremony during the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education in February 2012, in Houston. The National Superintendent of the Year will be announced at that conference. A $10,000 college scholarship will be presented to a student in the high school from which the National Superintendent of the Year graduated or to a senior in a high school from the district in which the superintendent received the award.


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