Past Award Recipients
2009 Outstanding Principal
Mr. Thomas Hoffman, Principal, Pecatonica High School
B.S. Physical Education, Western Illinois University
M.S Educational Administration, Northern Illinois University
36 Years in Education-12 Years as a Principal
Tom Hoffman has been described as a positive leader and a considerate, fair, compassionate, yet tough administrator. It is not uncommon to see him in the halls during and after school, shaking hands of students and providing encouragement to those who need it. His honest and sincere desire to see students succeed has resulted in him earning their respect. He creates a positive learning environment and sets high expectations for student achievement. He encourages ongoing professional growth and leadership development among teachers and spends quality time in evaluating performance so that everyone has the ability to improve. Pecatonica Superintendent, Bill Faller says "Tom Hoffman has influenced the lives of many students who never forget the principal who looked out for them."
2008 Outstanding Principal
Mr. Michael Francis, Principal, Jackson Elementary
A.A. | Rock Valley College
B.A. | Carthage College
Masters in Educational Administration | Western Illinois University
37 years in Education-15 years as a Principal
If you're trying to find Jackson Elementary School Principal Michael Francis, don’t bother with his office. Look instead on the playground or in the halls. Look where the children are. Francis leads his Jackson "family" by knowing his students' names, by being visible and available. He also supports his teachers, providing materials and clearing roadblocks "so teachers can teach and students can learn," says teacher Pam Herriott.
This approach has helped the lifelong Rockfordian (a 1968 East High graduate) remove Jackson School from No Child Left Behind "status" lists. The school has seen a 24 percent increase in economically disadvantaged students in the past eight years, with only one-third meeting state standards in 2001. But Jackson brought in consultants to help teachers and worked to turn scores around. In 2007, 60 percent of Jackson students met standards.
His philosophy of education? "Teamwork in a school is essential," he says. "Treat all persons, including students, with respect." One only needs to step foot inside the 100 year old halls of Jackson school to feel that it is a safe, nurturing, welcoming, learning environment led by an outstanding principal!
2007 Outstanding Principal
Mrs. Judy Rigby, Principal, Hononegah High School
B.S. in Education | Illinois State University
M.S. in Counselor Education |Northern Illinois University
General Administrative Endorsement
35 years in Education-5 years as a Principal
Judy Rigby was chosen to receive this award for her excellence in leadership, commitment to student achievement, demonstration of loyalty and dedication to staff and improving her chosen profession of school leadership in public education. Mrs. Rigby is greatly admired by teachers as well as fellow administrators at Hononegah. As stated by one of her nominators, "Her unwavering determination to continue to improve in all areas of education has created an atmosphere of constant professional growth and a positive learning climate."
Mrs. Rigby has been described as a detail oriented leader who has the ability to connect with others through astute listening skills. She is an inspiration to all as she lives out and practices the very qualities she encourages her teachers to model. Her determination to make constant improvement is contagious as evidenced by Hononegah’s selection as one of the Chicago Sun-Times Top 50 High Schools for two years in a row.
2006 Outstanding Principal
Mr. Randy Larson, Principal, Carlson Elementary School
45 years in Education-34 years as a Principal
Mr. Larson was chosen to receive this premiere award for his long standing enthusiastic leadership and commitment to student achievement and development. Mr. Larson has created a positive learning environment and has created a sense of community at Carlson school that has embraced the rest of the community with their involvement in a number of community activities.
The minute you enter Carlson School you realize that learning is important and fun. The enthusiasm of the principal permeates the building with a frenzy of learning experiences. Mr. Larson's personal belief in the power of positive thinking and a committed work ethic has translated into an outstanding total education experience for the students at Carlson. The positive learning environment fosters achievement and student growth. Staff members work diligently not only to teach state and district learning standards, but also to make the learning meaningful and relevant to the student's lives. Not only is high student achievement expected and attained, but Mr. Larson encourages growth and professional development among his staff members. Mr. Larson has created a community at Carlson School that embraces the rest of the community. Through his leadership students have participated in "Get the Scoop" Ice Cream Social and Orientation, the Carlson Parade, Veteran's Day Celebration and even the adoption of a school in Gulf Port, Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. His dedication to education and love of this community are truly a gift to us all.