For Immediate Release
February 11, 2008

Vice Chair of ISBE appointed to serve on national education board

Lockport resident will serve two-year term on the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Boards of Education

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today announced that State Board Vice Chair Dr. Christopher J. Ward has been appointed to a two-year term on the Board of Directors for the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). The former Lockport Superintendent will represent 13 states in the NASBE Central region. He has been serving on the Illinois state board since 2004.

“It is a great honor for the Illinois State Board of Education, and says a great deal about the quality and commitment of our members to have one serving on NASBE’s board of directors,” said Board Chairman Jesse H. Ruiz. “NASBE provides important information, services and valuable insight to state boards around the nation on how to best serve and be effective educational leaders.”

NASBE is a national not-for-profit organization that provides a forum for education policy makers. The organization aims to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking by providing assistance and support to the nation's State Boards of Education. The association is divided into four geographical areas – Central, Northeastern, Southern, and Western – with two State Board members representing each area. The 2008 NASBE 14-member board consists of four Officers, eight Area Directors representing the geographical areas, and two New Members.

Dr. Ward will serve on the Board as a Central Area Director representing Illinois and 12 other central and Midwestern states until December 2009. Joe Higgins of Omaha, Neb., also serves as a Central Area Director. The Central area includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

“I am honored to have been selected for this position and look forward to working with fellow board members on important education issues facing each state and the nation as whole,” said Dr. Ward. “I look forward to working with board members from the region and around the nation, advocating for education at a national level and sharing what’s working and what’s not to improve education on a regional level.”

As an Area Director, Dr. Ward will represent his region at NASBE events and quarterly board meetings, as well as work on a variety of programs and services that are used by state board members to improve the skills needed to be an effective board member.

Dr. Ward, of Lockport, was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education in September 2004 by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich. In addition to serving as State Board Vice Chair, Dr. Ward is Chairman of the Board Operations Committee and a member of the Governmental Relations Committee.

He retired in 2004 as Superintendent of Lockport Township High School District (THSD) #205 after having served in that position for more than thirteen years. At Lockport THSD he led a team of staff and community volunteers to pass two referenda to increase the education fund to renovate and expand the district’s education facilities. He used creative leadership and strategic planning skills in guiding the district into a systemic approach of professional development improving curriculum and student learning in an environment in which the student population was increasing at an average of 100 students per year.

Dr. Ward began his career in education in 1967, as an Advanced Sociology and History teacher at Joliet Catholic High School. Recently, he participated in the 2007 NASBE Models of Success Study Group and participated in the 2006 Civic Learning Study Group. He is also a past member of AASA and IASA where he served in leadership of the IASA Three Rivers Division.

More information about NASBE can be found online at