Superintendent Smith receives the 2021 Superintendent of Distinction Award
IASA-SPRINGFIELD— Sheri Smith, superintendent of Forrestville Valley CUSD #221, has been named the 2021 Superintendent of Distinction by her colleagues in the Northwest Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA).
Smith was honored at an awards luncheon May 5 in Springfield. State Superintendent Dr. Carmen Ayala was the featured speaker, where 21 IASA regional Superintendents of Distinction were recognized.
"One of the belief statements held at Forrestville Valley is our students desire, our educators seek and our community members encourage a balance of tradition with forward critical thinking,” said Smith, who has been an educator for 22 years and superintendent at Forrestville Valley CUSD #221 for seven years. “I have been honored to be part of the rich traditions of Forrestville Valley and lead our staff down various avenues to expand opportunities for our students."
Those nominating Smith noted a number of successes during her tenure including:
- Received Illinois State Board of Education Exemplary Status, placing Forreston Jr/Sr High School and Forreston Grade School in the top 10% of Illinois Schools
- Implemented a standards-based curriculum at all grade levels to include rigorous design and development.
- Hired district Instructional coaches, mentors and a curriculum director to assist teachers with teaching and learning and provide ongoing professional growth opportunities throughout the school year.
- Implemented STEM Programming in grades 7-12 to include robotics at the middle school and Project Lead the Way Engineering Pathway at Forreston High school.
- Restructured building configuration to develop an early learning center, which expanded kindergarten and preschool options.
- Focused on meeting the social and emotional needs of students by increasing support at all levels to include social work and counseling services.
- Provided dual-learning environments for Forrestville Valley students during the COVID-19 global pandemic to include in-person instruction beginning August 2020, as well as synchronous remote instruction.
Each Superintendent of Distinction was nominated by peers in their regions based on their commitment, dedication and leadership.
“These extraordinary individuals are exceptional leaders and difference makers in their communities,” said IASA Executive Director Dr. Brent Clark. “Throughout their careers, each honoree has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to elevating the success of students in their districts.”
The seventh annual luncheon was again sponsored by Horace Mann, one of the nation’s largest insurers focusing on the needs of educators.
“We are proud to recognize these Superintendents of Distinction who are creative, dedicated, inspiring and consistently create strong learning environments in their districts,” said Marita Zuraitis, Horace Mann President and Chief Executive Officer.
The Northwest Region is comprised of Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Carroll, Ogle, Whiteside and Lee counties.