McGee re-tools State Board of Education to
deliver accountability, improvement, innovation

August 2, 2000

(217) 782-4648 or (312) 814-3490

Springfield – State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee today announced he has reorganized the State Board of Education’s agency structure to further its efforts to make Illinois education Second to None.

The move is one of seven components of McGee’s 90-day plan that begins to improve and strengthen the State Board’s delivery of education services to Illinois’ 893 local school districts and two million students.

The 800-person agency, which distributes and regulates state and federal education funds and creates and implements statewide education policy, will now work to support the agency’s two primary functions – operations and financial services, and educational services.

The realignment will help maximize the agency’s resources; make the State Board more internally accountable; and streamline the flow of information and services by focusing less on individual departments and more on coordination, communication and collaboration between units.

It will also create more direct, effective and efficient communications among State Board staff, and the schools and communities they serve. 

“Our primary responsibility is to provide nothing less than absolute first-class leadership and service to parents, students, teachers, business and community leaders,” McGee said. “They are our focus, and they have a right to expect top performance from everyone here,” he said.

“We cannot expect local districts to do their best job unless and until we are doing the best that we can to support them. Our staff has been doing a great job up to this point. But this reorganization will let us be even more innovative, effective and efficient.”

Chief among the changes, McGee appointed current Deputy Superintendent for Standards, Assessment and Accountability Lynne Haeffele as his new Chief Deputy Superintendent. As McGee’s second in command Haeffele will oversee and coordinate all agency programs and operations.

The new position will also allow greater access to agency upper management – especially McGee. The superintendent had as many as 27 people reporting directly to him, creating a tremendous amount of work that constricted his time with other staff and agency projects.

Haeffele has worked and excelled at every level of education. She taught science for 13 years. In 1988 Haeffele was one of the state’s first Distinguished Educator/Milken Award winners. She was a finalist for Illinois Teacher of the Year in 1989. Haeffele was also one of Illinois’ candidates for the NASA Teacher in Space program. She joined the State Board in 1990 and led the two-year effort to create the Illinois Learning Standards.

Haeffele was named executive assistant to the state superintendent in 1997 and subsequently served as deputy superintendent for educational programs. In October 1999, she assumed full responsibility for standards, assessment and accountability.

New Assistant Chief Deputy Superintendent for Education Michael Dunn will oversee all educational programs and services.

Dunn was hired in 1999 to help coordinate the State Board’s reading improvement initiatives. He worked previously in the Deerfield school district in several capacities, including Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Instruction, Director of Instructional Services and Director of Reading and Gifted Education.

David Wood will oversee all school financial services and agency operations in his new role as Assistant Chief Deputy Superintendent for Operations and Finance.

Wood has been the State Board’s deputy superintendent for operations since 1998. He also served the Illinois Bureau of the Budget as General Counsel, Division Chief and Acting Director.

Acknowledging occasional criticism of the State Board for inconsistent service and overly bureaucratic procedures, McGee on June 1 announced a 90-day, seven-part improvement plan to begin to make the State Board more responsive, customer-friendly and accountable.

He asked every employee, including himself to “step up and make it happen” to help each of Illinois’ two million students achieve the Illinois Learning Standards. “As we hold schools to higher standards, we must hold ourselves to the same level of quality and commitment,” McGee reiterated.

McGee also created a “School Ambassador” program through which every employee will be able to visit a local school to experience first-hand the impact of the State Board’s efforts.

He announced the creation of customer service field teams that will develop and maintain open, proactive communications channels with local districts, teachers, parents and students by visiting and working directly with schools and communities.