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Position: Superintendent, Bloomington District 87
1. What led you to education as a profession and to District 87?
I had parents who valued education and set a good example. I also had amazing teachers who helped me along the way. When it was time to choose a career, becoming an educator seemed to be my calling.
To become an administrator for me was to try to have a greater impact. Growing up in Bloomington-Normal, I recognize the tradition and history of District 87.
Having this opportunity to lead in my home community is humbling and really exciting at the same time.
2. How has your first school year at District 87 been so far? Any surprises?
I love it, sincerely. I get asked almost everywhere I go how I like my new job after being in Tri-Valley for so long. I just say I love it, and that’s where I’m supposed to be at this point in my career. I will forever be grateful and proud of my time at Tri-Valley, but it was time for a new chapter.
I love the opportunity to grow and learn, and experiencing and associating with a new community, new staff and new students in a large and diverse environment has been incredibly inspiring.
There weren’t too many surprises, as we’ve been through a lot in education over the past few years. From COVID to staff/contractor shortages, we have been able to manage.
I truly believe that educators and students have become resilient and learned to be flexible and collaborative out of necessity. These skills will serve us well after the pandemic.
What I’ve noticed the most this year is that everyone seems to enjoy a sense of normalcy and routine. There is joy in our schools.
3. What is your vision for the future of District 87 and yourself?
My vision is to continue to build on the tradition and history of the neighborhood by embracing everything that makes D87 so special. We will intentionally celebrate our history, diversity and accomplishments. We will work hard to tell our story and share the great things our staff and students are doing.
At the same time, we will strive to innovate by providing opportunities for students and families. There’s a lot of work to do in every school system, but I’m confident we have the staff, the families, and the momentum to do some really good things to set our students up for success.
We say around here, “It’s great to be in District 87,” and I want everyone to know that. For me personally, it’s 100% about earning the trust of those around me while working to build relationships.
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4. What is one thing you wish people knew about running a school district?
We recognize the need to partner with our community to be successful. Schools cannot do this work alone.
Schools today are responsible for much more than we were decades ago. We spend a lot of time talking about meeting students’ social and emotional needs while trying to achieve academic goals. It’s a challenge.
The more positive support we can get from parents and our community, the better.
Finally, I would like people to know how much a “thank you” means to our staff. This profession, like many, requires a lot of time and emotional energy.
Our staff care deeply about our students. I have literally seen teachers burst into tears with emotions ranging from extreme pride to frustration. Getting those around them to notice the effort with a quick email or thank you can make a remarkable difference.
5. What are your interests outside of the office?
I’m a pretty simple guy. I am married to Amie, who is my best friend, and we have two children of whom we are quite proud. I like spending time with them. My wife is a school librarian, so we spend a lot of time talking about school.
I love watching the Fighting Illini, St. Louis Cardinals and (not so much lately) the Chicago Bears. Amie and I also like to go out to eat at our favorite places in town. We love the Ozark house.
Photos: Students celebrate homecoming week at Bloomington High School
Contact Roger Miller at (309) 820-3233. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_rmiller