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Dr. Jennifer Garrison, superintendent of Vandalia CUSD #203, has been named the 2021 Superintendent of Distinction by her colleagues in the Kaskaskia Region of the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA).
Garrison 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.
“It is an honor to be selected as the Kaskaskia Region 2021 Superintendent of Distinction,” said Garrison, who has been an educator for 21 years and a superintendent for 12 years, including the past three at Vandalia CUSD #203. “I was selected for this honor in 2015 as well. Our region is one of the best in the state at supporting one another. Being selected for the second time is something I will cherish forever. Vandalia is my home, and I am proud to share our accomplishments locally, regionally and statewide.”
Those nominating Garrison noted a number of successes during her tenure including:
Implemented a new strategic planning process. Vandal Values will be introduced in the fall of 2021.
Aligned K-12 curriculum that focuses on math, writing and foundational skills at the primary grades.
Developed the Vandalia ONE IL initiative as part of the Illinois 60×25 Network Leadership Community.
Restructured bonds in January of 2021 to lower property taxes and allow the district to move forward with over $1 million dollars of capital improvement projects, including completing the VES HVAC project.
Implemented TIF Best Practices working with the city and other taxing bodies.
Helped pass the 1 percent countywide sales tax to lower property taxes.
Each Superintendent of Distinction was nominated 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.
“Superintendents have had to be more flexible, nimble, creative, and understanding this year than ever before,” said Marita Zuraitis, Horace Mann President and CEO. “Horace Mann recognizes all superintendents for what they have done in the face of the constantly changing learning environment and concern around the health and safety of their staff and students. We’re proud to honor those Superintendents of Distinction who are being recognized for providing strong learning models and supporting their community this year.”
The Kaskaskia Region is comprised of Macoupin, Montgomery, Bond, Fayette, Clinton and Marion counties.