O'Fallon High School <a class=Superintendent Darcy Benway is recognized as a 2022 Superintendent of Distinction by her colleagues in the Southwest Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.” title=”O’Fallon High School Superintendent Darcy Benway is recognized as a 2022 Superintendent of Distinction by her colleagues in the Southwest Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.” loading=”lazy”/>

O’Fallon High School Superintendent Darcy Benway is recognized as a 2022 Superintendent of Distinction by her colleagues in the Southwest Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.

Courtesy of the Illinois Association of School Administrators

The O’Fallon High School superintendent was recognized Wednesday as the superintendent of distinction for the Southwest Illinois region.

Darcy Benway is one of 21 Illinois school administrator associations to be recognized. The Southwest region includes St. Clair, Madison, Jersey, Monroe, and Randolph counties. In total, the region includes 51 individual school districts.

“I have truly shared this award with the phenomenal administrators who have come through a very difficult time, our teachers who have stepped up and met the challenges head on, and certainly all of our instructional support staff who have worked tirelessly on behalf of our students,” Benway said. Thusday. “OTHS does great things, and I think that’s why I was nominated, but I don’t share that alone.”

During her 15-year tenure as Superintendent of O’Fallon High School, Benway achieved a number of successes which were cited in her nomination for the honor.

They include: opening the district’s freshman campus, increasing the number of students appointed as Illinois State Scholars, improving access to advanced placement courses for undergraduate students. represented while maintaining exam pass rates, implementing a credit recovery initiative for struggling students, and the district performing in the top 10% of Illinois high schools on the SAT assessment/ ACT while simultaneously spending in the lowest 10% of teaching cost per student for its entire tenure.

In 2020, O’Fallon Township High School had a per-student expenditure of $10,686, while the average for the state was $23,573. For the same year, students averaged almost 30 points higher than the state average on the SAT, according to the Illinois Report Card.

“We give our community great value, where we do more for less,” Benway said. “It’s not just a one-year benchmark, it’s a 15-year benchmark. Anyone can do great things for a year, but it’s that durability over time.

Of particular note, Benway said she was proud of how her district has stepped up and met the challenges of the pandemic. According to U.S. News and World Report, O’Fallon Township High School rose in state and national school rankings between 2021 and 2022.

In addition to the pandemic, Benway also spent part of last school year working part-time from home after undergoing a heart transplant. She is back to work full-time in person this year.

All superintendents in the Southwest Region have shown “incredible dedication” to their students during the pandemic, Benway said. Being selected by her peers was humbling, she says.

“For them to choose me as outstanding during this time is such an honor,” she said. “It takes my breath away.”

This story was originally published May 8, 2022 7:00 a.m.

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Megan Valley is the News-Democrat’s educational reporter. She joined the BND in June 2020 as part of the Report for America body and covers issues involving schools, teachers and students in the Metro East.