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Glen Ellyn

Post-retirement reflections on D-41

I am writing this guest column knowing that by the time it appears in The Glen Ellyn News, I will have retired.

I welcome this chance to reflect on District 41, particularly on the many things that bode well for it in these times of great change in public education. I also want to share my gratitude for having spent seven years in this vibrant school district.

One of the remarkable things about District 41 has been its ability to chart a course and persevere; too often, organizations abandon excellent plans, having found it difficult to maintain confidence through the inevitable ups and downs when results don’t come right away. Meaningful and lasting change takes five to 10 years – that’s a long time. District 41 has organizational structures in place to unite it in pursuit of academic excellence, financial sustainability and strong community relations.

A lot of the credit goes to the energy of our staff members and their willingness to do whatever it takes to move the system forward. Nothing demonstrates this more than the work that goes on every summer, with many of our teachers working full steam on matters essential to improving learning and teaching as they get ready to return to school in the fall.

Our organizational structures and committed staff ensure that our Long-Range Plan is a living document, clearly stating those things we want to do well together and guiding our actions. These three elements – organizational structures, committed staff and the Long-Range Plan – give the district the continuity that is essential for permanent and meaningful improvement.

Public education in this country is undergoing transformational change, with the adoption by Illinois and many other states of the more demanding new Common Core academic standards, the increasing role of schools in meeting community and family needs and the growing strain on school funding. These circumstances are challenging for all school districts, but District 41 is well positioned to navigate them.

I am so proud of having been a part of the district for these past seven years and so grateful for the opportunity. I know there are many great things ahead for the district under the leadership of the new superintendent, Paul Gordon, with the direction of our Board of Education and with the support of our staff and our community.

Ann Riebock is former superintendent of Glen Ellyn School District 41

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