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East St. Louis superintendent receives educational excellence award

Arthur Culver, superintendent of East St. Louis District 189, was recognized with the Excellence in Education Award by Cognia, formerly AdvancED, during the 2019 Midwest Region Cognia Connect Conference in Chicago.

Cognia is a nonprofit continuous improvement organization that conducts rigorous, on-site reviews of a variety of educational institutions and provides resources, tools and support to education leaders across the globe to ensure all learners realize their full potential. Nominations for this award were received from a variety of sources including volunteers, Engagement Review team members, Lead Evaluators, Field Consultants, Cognia Advisory Committee members, and staff.

Regional Director for Cognia, Dr. Lori Hopkins said Culver demonstrated “unparalleled leadership during a time when systematic change was desperately needed.  Facing many challenges in leadership, learning, and resource, Superintendent Culver took to task the necessary steps to improve the district’s climate and culture, reaching out to stakeholders to provide data and feedback that would help inform the improvement journey for the road ahead.”

Additionally, he addressed academic achievement by creating a personnel structure in leadership to establish and monitor programs and services to determine their effectiveness, making revisions as needed to ensure opportunities are enhanced for all students, Hopkins said. A system of support was also established to increase high school retention, the graduation rate, the number of students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes and college, among others. Fiscal practices were established to balance the budget by assessing personnel, programs, and contracts, eliminating wasteful spending practices to achieve financial stability.  After being under state control since 2011, East St. Louis School district participated in a systems Engagement Review and achieved accreditation status in 2019.

Becky Densmore, Cognia Central Region vice president, emphasized the importance of recognizing educators and leaders who are “making a meaningful contribution to their professions and the institutions in which they have served. Our award recipients demonstrate how they are living our mission to empower education to ensure optimal outcomes on behalf of the children we ultimately serve.”

PHOTO: Arthur Culver, superintendent, with Lori Hopkins of Cognia.

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