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Superintendent of the Year

Rochester’s Bertrand is Superintendent of the Year

Thomas Bertrand, district superintendent at Rochester CUSD 3A, was honored Sunday afternoon during the third general session of the IASB/IASA/IASBO Conference as 2015 Illinois Superintendent of the Year.

Chosen annually by the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), the award was presented Nov. 23 in Chicago. As the Illinois Superintendent of the Year, Bertrand is eligible for the National Superintendent of the Year Award from the National Association of School Administrators.

Bertrand has been an educator for 28 years, serving as a teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent before accepting the position as Rochester superintendent in 2002. He has spent the past 13 years as superintendent of Rochester CUSD 3A.

“I look at this as recognition for our schools and our community. Our board, staff and our teachers are all marching to the same beat,” said Bertrand in accepting the award.

“Kids first, high expectations, and continuous improvement,” are the guiding goals that Thomas Bertrand references when speaking to the success he has seen at Rochester CUSD 3A.

IASA President Scott Kuffel introduced Bertrand by speaking about his numerous accomplishments during his tenure. Kuffel cited examples, including: pioneering “one-to-one” computer devices and implementing a district-wide digital conversion for students in grades 4 through 12; overhauling the district’s technology infrastructure to ensure Wi-Fi access for all students and staff; redesigning the professional development program for teachers and administrators to include well-differentiated tracks for professional development; directing the effort to develop a state- and nationally-acclaimed bullying prevention program; leading the district to become the first in Illinois to utilize Overgrad, a web-based system that allows students, parents and staff to objectively measure college and career readiness; and leading the design and development of multi-stage construction projects.

“I am humbled and honored to receive such recognition from my peers. There are so many superintendents who are deserving of this award,” Bertrand said in his acceptance speech. “As school leaders we must show perseverance for our students. Every day, we have to lead like it is the fourth quarter and the game is on the line.”

In nominating Bertrand for Superintendent of the Year, Rochester school board President Randy Hawkins wrote, “Dr. Bertrand has successfully transformed what could be termed a ‘small-town’ school into a shining example of success in all facets of public education.   He is a pillar of community involvement.”

Thomas Bertrand grew up in Quincy, Illinois, and earned his undergraduate degree from Quincy College. He went on to earn a master’s from Western Illinois University and Ph.D. from Illinois State University. His father, Harold, worked for 42 years in the Ford Tractor Division and his mother, Marilyn, worked 25 years in a school cafeteria. He credited both parents for instilling “an appreciation for education and a work ethic.”


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