Greetings From Superintendent Brunson
Greetings Elementary School District 159 Community,
It is an honor and a privilege to have been chosen as the next superintendent of Elementary School District 159. I’m looking forward to working with the faculty, staff, families, community and students as we co-create a new path forward with a focus on academic excellence, well-being and belonging. I would like to share with you a little bit about me, my career, and desire for our school district as I continue our mission, “To Educate, Empower, and Inspire the Whole-Child.”
I was born and raised on the southside of Chicago. My family was part of the approximately six million Black people who moved from the American South to Northern, Midwestern, and Western states roughly from the 1910s until the 1970s during what was known as the Great Migration seeking better educational and career opportunities. My family moved from historic Montgomery, Alabama. So, my roots are southern, I stand on the shoulders of my ancestors and I’m very proud of that.
I attended Chicago Vocational High School and was an artist, star athlete, and officer in the J.R.O.TC. I also played in the school’s Drum and Bugle Corp and was involved in student government. Being involved in service to my community has always been important to me. Attending a vocational high school also allowed me to explore many career pathways and opportunities. Because of that I am a strong supporter of CTE (Career and Technical Education) as a means to access and equitable career opportunities for all students.
After high school graduation I joined the Army and went on to go to the University of Illinois in Champaign- Urbana where I was an activist, an athlete, participated in R.O.T.C., student government, Black Chorus and studied to become a special education teacher. During my freshman year of college, I left to serve in the Desert Storm conflict for the 478th PSC. When I returned, I went on to graduate and became a special education teacher in Chicago and Oak Park and River Forest High School. I have either taught or led schools at every level from elementary school to high school. While teaching I earned a M.S. in Educational Administration from Roosevelt University and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Loyola University-Chicago.
I have been in education for over 27 years serving as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and served as the first Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for Rockford Public Schools where I led the district’s work to embed equity and culturally sustaining practices into every core function of Rockford Public Schools, ensuring that all students had full and equitable access to the district’s programs and resources. That meant engaging students, families and community members as true partners in the educational process.
I have had so many “firsts'' and opportunities throughout my career. In 2008, one of my proudest accomplishments was being a co-founder and administrator of V.O.I.S.E. Academy High School (Virtual Opportunities Inside a School Environment) in Chicago. V.O.I.S.E. employed a blended model, students attended the brick-and-mortar school to learn roughly 80% of the time through online delivery, with face-to-face teachers providing the individual support. Traditional teacher-led instruction comprised roughly 20% of the time, with teachers acting as the instructional guides by encouraging, mentoring students and providing individualized/personalized instruction. V.O.I.S.E. received national attention for its innovative learning model and academic outcomes.
During my career I have been committed to establishing classrooms, schools and educational environments that respect diversity and provide experiences and space for all students to learn and thrive. These inclusive environments
invite each of them to show up as their true authentic selves, are culturally affirming fostering a sense of belonging. Given a high-quality education and opportunities, I believe every human being has the potential to live a full life and
leave behind a great legacy.
As your new Superintendent of Schools, my desire is to provide our students with every opportunity for success. Inasmuch, it is important that our students are “Future Ready” and have the skills to successfully navigate an ever-changing world. I pledge to work to the best of my ability on behalf of our students and families by partnering with the Board of Education, administrative team, staff, and community to move our district forward by co-creating equitable learning environments for all of our students. Collectively, we will thrive in Elementary School District 159, focusing on academic, social-emotional growth and well-being. I look forward to our success as we work for the betterment of our school district, community and the world. Watch us SOAR!!!
Dr. Tiffany Brunson
Superintendent of Schools