Nearly 6,000 men and women serve on local Boards of Education in Illinois, and seven of them represent the students and taxpayers of Coal City Community Unit School District 1.
Each year, November 15 marks the official statewide observance of School Board Members Day in Illinois.
“This is an opportunity to build an awareness and understanding of the essential role locally elected Board of Education members assume,” Superintendent Chris Spencer said.
The honorary day further serves as an opportunity for school districts and communities to show support for their elected Board of Education and the commitment its members make to ensure the educational vision is met.
Board members, who serve as unpaid volunteers, dedicate a significant amount of time to the district, something that is often overlooked. They attend extra-curricular events, participate in professional development opportunities, serve on committees, represent the district at community events and put in long hours to ensure students have access to the educational resources needed to succeed.
Coal City’s seven-member board has over 81 years of combined experience and many have been honored for their contributions and commitment to their districts. Working together they act to safeguard two of the community’s most precious resources—its children and tax dollars—while striving to create the best educational environment possible.
Mary Gill, secretary of the Board of Education, is the longest serving member with 26 years of continued service to the district, and last year she was recognized by the Illinois Association of School Boards [IASB] as a Legacy Board Leader.
Board vice president Shawn Hamilton has served the district for nearly 21 years and has been recognized twice by IASB as a Distinguished Board Leader.
Following a career in education, Ken P. Miller continues to serve his community as president of the Board of Education. He was elected to his seat in 2007 and for the majority of his time has held the role of president. He has also been recognized by IASB as a Distinguished Board Leader.
Quint Harmon is nearing his 15th year of service to the district and has also earned the recognition of Distinguished Board Leader by IASB.
Steve Rodgers is nearing three years of service, Dan Engelhardt has served the district for a combined 10 months and Cindy Klein will mark one year of board membership in April 2024.
The theme of this year’s School Board Members Day is, “Learn Together. Lead Together.” A fitting theme given this is the week school board members from across the state will gather for their annual three-day conference that is focused on learning new ideas and best practices in school governance.
“Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice to our community and school district. We have a great district and our students and community are very fortunate because of your leadership.” Spencer said.