For Immediate Release
November 23, 2009

Jasper County School Board President named recipient of the 2009 Thomas Lay Burroughs Award

Illinois State Board of Education honors 14-year district school board member

NEWTON – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) presented Fred Huddlestun, president of the Jasper County School Board, with the 2009 Burroughs Award Sunday during an annual state education conference in Chicago.

“Fred Huddlestun’s 14 years of volunteer service and leadership has truly benefited the students of Jasper County,’’ said ISBE Board Member Chris Ward. “This rural East Central Illinois district has improved student learning and educational excellence in multiple areas through Fred’s commitment and foresight.’’

Huddlestun helped Jasper County Consolidated Unit School District No. 1 secure leases for computers and other related technology, providing hands-on learning opportunities for children. He also supported adding and requiring a Computer Concepts course for all high school freshman, ensuring a solid level of computer competency for all students.

Under Huddlestun’s leadership, the administration and faculty implemented curriculum that has better prepared students for local and state assessments. The district’s composite test scores have improved from 67 percent of students meeting or exceeding expectations in 2002 to 80 percent in 2009.

Due to declining enrollment, Huddlestun oversaw the difficult consolidation of district schools, closing two elementary schools and turning three junior high schools into one.

“Fred aggressively sought to communicate the need to combine the junior high schools into one building; passionately supported it in the best interest of kids, and along the way had to deal with considerable opposition from people in various communities,’’ said Ron Alburtus, district superintendent. “Now in our sixth year with one junior high school, it has been an extremely positive process.’’

Huddlestun is a farmer who lives in Jasper County with his wife Sharon. They raised three daughters in the district but Huddlestun’s service has extended beyond his children’s graduation from Newton Community High School.

In September 2009, Huddlestun was recognized by the Illinois Association of School Boards as a Master Board Member. He is also Chair for the Wabash Valley Region of the IASB, representing 10 counties.

Huddlestun received the Thomas Lay Burroughs Award Sunday during the joint annual conference of the Illinois Association of School Boards, the Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Association of School Business Officials in Chicago.

ISBE created the award in 1991 to honor Thomas Lay Burroughs who served as chairman of the State Board of Education and the Board of Education for the Collinsville School District. The award recognizes extraordinary educational leadership at the local level, including leadership: