GOREVILLE -- Steve Webb, superintendent of Goreville CUSD #1, has been named the 2022 Illinois Superintendent of the Year by the Illinois Association of School Administrators.
The award was presented Sunday (November 21) during the Joint Annual Conference in Chicago co-sponsored by the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), the Illinois Association of School Business Officials (IASBO) and IASA.
Nominees are judged on the following criteria: pandemic response, academic achievement, preparing students for the future, social-emotional support, teaching and instruction, equity strategies and leadership.
"I am extremely honored to be named the 2022 Illinois Superintendent of the Year when so many superintendents across the state and nation are doing such extraordinary things to help children cope with the present and future," said Webb, who has served as superintendent of Goreville CUSD #1 for 19 years and has been an educator for 29 years. "I share this recognition with every single person who has guided me and helped shape my values. I truly am a product of a tremendous community and a family I love very deeply, who weathers the storm of public duty with me. I will forever cherish this award and will continue to love and nurture the kids in our care and hopefully make a difference one child at a time."
Under Webb's leadership, Goreville CUSD #1 deployed innovative COVID-19 mitigation tactics to remain in person throughout the 2020-21 school year, including purchasing mobile carts at the middle school to allow teachers to switch classrooms instead of students and employing additional medical staff and reading coaches.
As superintendent, Webb has also overseen numerous improvements that helped elevate student success and improve the quality of teaching and instruction in the district, which is located in deep southern Illinois. His accomplishments include:
• expanded pre-K programs to full day for all 3- and- 4-year old students in the district
• partnered with Shawnee Community College to offer 33 college dual credits at no cost to Goreville High School students before they graduate
• created a premier Certified Nursing Program and expanded college and career preparation by offering certification training in auto mechanics and food service.
Worked with parents, teachers and administrators to expand the school day to provide more targeted support for students
• added 15 new sports and club teams to enhance the student experience in Goreville CUSD #1
• adopted a 1:1 technology initiative in 2014 that allowed the district to close the poverty gap and helped the pivot to remote learning in the 2019-20 school year
* established a Learning Partnership Team that includes teachers, parents, administrators and board members that meets monthly to establish strategic planning and transparent communication
* developed a student journalism program and launched the Goreville News newspaper after the community's newspaper closed
Webb is also a national leader on school safety issues and is one of first superintendents in the nation to become a certified police officer. He currently serves as Goreville CUSD #1's school resource officer.
"Dr. Webb has taken our school district and community to incredible new heights with his visionary leadership," said Steve Benard, Goreville CUSD #1 School Board President. "He does not see problems -- he sees potential and he stops at nothing to figure out a way to make it benefit kids."
Todd Tripp, Goreville CUSD #1 Athletic Director, added Webb is unlike any school administrator he has ever worked with.
"His love for kids is evident every single day as he walks the halls and hangs out in classrooms just to talk with teachers and kids to see how they are doing in their environment," Tripp said. "He leads by example for both students and staff as his passion for their success emanates from everything he does or proposes."
The Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) is the state's premier advocacy organization for school administrators with about 1,750 members.
Brent Clark, executive director of IASA, described Webb as a student-focused leader who is deeply committed to improving educational outcomes for students and lifting up the entire Goreville community.
Webb grew up in Goreville and returned to the community as superintendent in 2002 after leading Thompsonville CUSD #174 as superintendent for three years and Joppa High School as the Athletic Director, Principal and Boys Basketball Coach from 1992-1999.
He is also an adjunct professor for Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and McKendree University in Lebanon.
"Dr. Webb has elevated Goreville CUSD #1 by closing the digital divide, increasing extracurricular activities, providing increased academic and social-emotional supports and developing programs that set students up for success after high school," Clark said. "But his impact really extends beyond increased resources and programs. Dr. Webb has fostered a culture and environment where students and staff are excited to come to school each day. Goreville has truly embraced a whole-child approach to education."
Webb has received numerous honors throughout his career. In July, he received the "2021 National Safe School Leadership Award" by the National Association of School Resource Officers.
He's also been recognized by the National School Public Relations Association Illinois Chapter with a "Distinguished Service of Excellence Award" and McKendree University named him an "Academy of Excellence Education Alumni of the Year."
Webb currently serves on the AASA, the national School Superintendents Association, Executive Committee. He is a former IASA President and is a member of the Illinois Terrorism Task Force School Safety Working Group.
In addition, Webb has presented at more than 100 conferences and trainings across the nation on school safety issues and wrote the book, Education in a Violent World: A Practical Guide to Keeping Our Kids Safe.