Illinois Association of School Counselors announced Collinsville Community Unit School District 10 Superintendent Dr. Mark “Brad” Skertich as its 2021 School Administrator of the Year. He was honored during IASC’s online awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 21.
Skertich was lauded for the equity and diversity initiatives he has spearheaded in the district. He was nominated by Collinsville High School Counseling Department Co-chair TaRael Kee.
Here are excerpts from Skertich’s nomination, as written by Kee:
“Dr. Skertich has completely transformed the Collinsville School District by lifting the voices of school counselors and students. Dr. Skertich is the first administrator in my entire tenure (10 years) in Collinsville School District to actively pursue diversity and equity initiatives to improve the quality of professional and academic life for minorities in our district. Most importantly, more than any administrator that I have encountered, Dr. Skertich is willing to listen to both good and bad news to make decisions that improve our daily lives.
“First and foremost, I absolutely enjoy having the luxury of working side by side with my superintendent on any number of initiatives but especially on our Diversity and Equity work. Last January, prior to the pandemic Dr. Skertich assembled a committee to “Grow Our Own” teachers. In our discussions, we realized that not only did we have issues with recruiting diverse candidates because of our public perception but also with retaining diverse talent because of the constant pressures of minoritization (I know I made this word up). So, we set forth with creating programs and policies based on data obtained from the needs assessment and the student advisory committee that we created. Together, school counselor and superintendent, we built systems, courses, credentials, and presentations together.”
“Dr. Skertich has partnered in so many ways with the community in just two short years as our superintendent. Even with Covid-19 he is incredibly active. Dr. Skertich has built partnerships with numerous community agencies to support our college/career development and learning initiatives. At the university level, he partners with Lindenwood University to supply our staff with diversity and equity professional development. He also partners with numerous trade schools and apprenticeship programs. Dr. Skertich is also building partnerships with our Chamber of Commerce that allow our students to actively begin entrepreneurship in high school. Dr. Skertich is everywhere, always smiling, and encouraging others.”
“Dr. Skertich started our Diversity and Equity committee. He recruited talented educators from around the entire district. Dr. Skertich opened the floor of discussion so that we can discuss our strengths and weaknesses as a district. These conversations evolved into multilayered policies, subcommittees, affinity groups, courses, credentials, student advocacy groups that now drive the direction of our district in an equitable manner. His vision included all stakeholders and grew into something that our entire district believes in and supports.”
“Dr. Skertich impacts all of the domains. He impacts our academic domain by creating culturally relevant courses and identifying inequitable practices and policies district wide. He improved our K-12 curriculum in a way that promotes culturally sustaining practices. In the social/emotional domain the previous academic support applies but he also supports school counselors and has allowed us to work in our roles as described in the national model to promote social emotional learning. Dr. Skertich is all over career education by building university, community, apprenticeship/trade school alliances to promote student growth.”
“Honestly, he is the best not only because of his achievements but more so because he cares deeply about everyone that works for him and every student in our district genuinely. If he asks you about your day…he actually really wants an answer. That is fantastic to me. As busy as he is enduring operating a district in a global pandemic he somehow leads us all with incredible amounts of compassion, honesty and respect. I trust him and we could not possibly have a better leader.”