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Superintendent of the Year

Hackett named Illinois Superintendent of the Year

Judy Hackett, of the Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization (NSSEO), selected as the 2016 Illinois Superintendent of the Year, was honored Saturday, Nov. 21, at the the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago

Chosen annually by the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), the award was presented during the second general session. As the Illinois Superintendent of the Year, Hackett is eligible for the 2016 National Superintendent of the Year Award.

“This award has always recognized exceptional achievement. This year, it recognizes the achievement of the exceptional — those exceptional students with disabilities across Illinois who embody courage in the face of unrelenting struggle and hope in the face of daunting odds,” she said. “They have always guided me to what is best in humanity and best in myself.”

Hackett is a Skokie, Illinois, native who began her 36-year career in education as a teacher working with blind and visually impaired students. Her career has spanned across northeastern Illinois, from Lake County to south suburban Chicago Heights. After teaching, Hackett went on to serve as an assistant superintendent at Indian Prairie Unit School District 204 in Aurora. In 2007, Judy Hackett was named as NSSEO superintendent.

“This is an incredible honor among such great, talented leaders and colleagues in the field,” said Hackett.

IASA President Jane Westerhold introduced Hackett by noting her numerous accomplishments and achievements. Westerhold spoke to Hackett’s ability to create partnerships with other districts to collectively focus on student services.

Hackett has been instrumental in emphasizing the “ENGAGE.CONNECT.GROW” theme to connect and align practices designed to facilitate growth and success for diverse learners. She was also credited with advancing a student-centered transition process to guide post-secondary goals through collaboration with families, community agencies, and employers.

IASA Executive Director Brent Clark also noted Hackett’s determination and dedication to her students during a video that preceded the presentation.

“Judy Hackett has dedicated her career to advocating for – and, when necessary, fighting for – students with disabilities,” Clark reiterated. “She is a respected national and state leader in the area of special education and personifies what it means to be the Illinois Superintendent of the Year.”

Hackett graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education. She earned her Master’s Degree in Education Administration from the University of Illinois, and her Doctorate in Educational Administration from NSU.  


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