Vandalia’s superintendent of schools was among 25 school administrators in the state receiving a special honor on Monday.
Rich Well, who has served as the Vandalia School District’s superintendent for the past 11 years, was one of 21 superintendents picked by their regional colleagues to receive Superintendent of Distinction honors in Springfield.
The Illinois State Board of Education, Horace Mann Companies, Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Principals Association jointly presented the Superintendent of Distinction and Principal of the Year honors.
“A healthy school system depends on strong school and district leaders,” State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said at Monday’s event. “The 25 superintendents and principals honored today have shown an outsized and inspirational commitment to students and to their communities.
I cannot overstate the importance of school and district administrators to the success of our students, especially as we all transition and grow through Illinois’ Every Student Succeeds Act State Plan. I want to publicly thank our all of our outstanding superintendents and principals,” Smith said.
Dr. Brent Clark, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, said, “Some of the best Illinois school leaders serving children, teachers, and communities are being recognized today for their dedicated work towards the maximum educational success for all students.”
Marira Zuraitis, president and chief executive officer of the Horace Mann Companies, a national insurer that focuses on education, said, “Our administrators excel at providing a supportive, enriching, and constructive environment to help both students and faculty achieve their best every day.”
Those nominating Well noted the many successes in the Vandalia district during his tenure, including:
• Instituting the 1:1 computer program for students in grades 6-12
• The continued evolution of Okaw Vocational to prepare students for the work force
• Growing the dual credit program with Kaskaskia Community College and Lake Land Community College
• Upgrading technology and HVAC in all district buildings
• Investing in district staff’s professional development for math and literacy.
Well received an Abe Award from the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce in 2016 and the Kaskaskia Region’s Outstanding Superintendent Award from the Illinois Principals Association in 2008. He also has been at the front of the fight to overhaul the state’s school funding system.
Reacting to the honor, Well said, “I am humbled in accepting this honor while so many Kaskaskia Region superintendents could have won the award for all of the special, hard-fought things they are trying to do in their districts.
“School leaders, staff and support staff that stay in education know the everyday fight and accept it as we move forward to help kids in our communities and schools,” Well said.
“I am truly blessed to work for a wonderful board of education and work with caring and energetic administrators, teachers and support staff,” Well said.
Well has been in the Vandalia School District for about 25 years, serving as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal prior to being promoted to the superintendent’s post.