Dr. Christopher A. Koch
Dr. Christopher A. Koch was appointed by the State Board of Education to serve as Illinois State Superintendent of Education effective December 1, 2006. Dr. Koch has been with the Illinois State Board of Education since 1994, serving in a variety of administrative capacities, including Director of Special Education and the states’ Chief Education Officer.
As State Superintendent, Dr. Koch has led efforts to bring coherence between state standards, curriculum, assessments and college entry requirements in Illinois through state membership in the American Diploma Project and the 21st Century Skills initiative. He has been a strong proponent of using data to inform policy and is working to establish a P-20 longitudinal data system where pre-K to 12 student achievement data can be linked to postsecondary education and careers. He supports the establishment of nationally and internationally benchmarked standards that promote both rigor and relevance, as well as assessments common to all states so that fair and accurate comparisons about student performance between states and countries can be made.
Dr. Koch is a member of the Council of Chief State School Officers and served as President of this organization of his peers in 2010-11. In addition, he was selected by the Council to serve on the Presidential transition team in 2008, to co-chair the Elementary and Secondary Reauthorization Committee and he has served as a member of the Board of Directors.
Superintendent Koch also serves on the Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting, a national commission that is developing more rigorous performance standards for accreditation of educator preparation programs. The findings of the Commission will be used to guide the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation in its work to evaluate the current accreditation system and create new standards that will better serve new teachers and their students.
Dr. Koch has experience as a special educator having taught in four states in various settings including an Outward Bound program, a college preparatory school, a youth detention center, and a psychiatric hospital. He served at the federal level, with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education where he administered programs in correctional education and School-to-Work transition.
Dr. Koch is an Illinois native, graduating from Brown County High School in Mt. Sterling, Illinois, and from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees in Educational Policy and Leadership from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.