Dr. Tony Sanders Farewell Celebration

“You’ve made a lasting difference and a legacy.” -Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein

Yesenia De La Torre, Staff Writer

After 15 years of working for School District U-46, Dr. Tony Sanders is moving up to be the next Illinois State Superintendent of Education. To celebrate all that work he has done, U-46 hosted a farewell celebration on Feb. 15 at South Elgin High School. During the event, attendees were able to speak with Sanders and have their picture taken in the common area. 

Opening remarks and student performances were held in the gymnasium. Rabbi Margaret Frishch Klein was the first speaker of the night. 

“We’re here today to bid farewell to a friend, to a tireless worker, to someone who really cares about kids and education,” Klein said. “You make it clear that every person in U-46 counts, the bus drivers, office workers, food service people and the janitors. That is the culture you have set.”

Dr. Suzanne Johnson who was named interim superintendent of U-46 later explained the story that inspired the scepter that  Sanders received as a gift from his colleagues. 

“As members of the executive cabinet of U-46 we spend a lot of time together, so we started creating games,” Johnson said. “And in a short amount of time we needed a trophy, the trophy was not good enough. We wanted a scepter.”

Johnson further explains that Sanders suggested a new name for the scepter calling it the scepter of recognition. 

“The rules are really simple, you identify a colleague to recognize for their contributions,” Johnson said. “Something they have done to uplift our students, each other, and our system.” 

Brian Lindholm, who is Chief of Staff at U-46, presented the scepter that was given to Sanders.

“We’ve each attached something on the scepter for Tony,” said Lindholm. “We’d like him to take it for keepsake.”

After the opening remarks, South Elgin High School student Xitlali Garcia, also known as “La Chaparrita de Oro”, performed. Followed by Bartlett High School’s String Quartet performing “Spring” from “The Four Seasons.”

Sander’s accomplishments include expanding the dual language program and working on the dual-credit program at Elgin Community College.

“I hope to address the educator shortage along with coming up with strategies to address that,” Sanders said. “We have a lot of schools not performing at the level that they should be and I’m trying to figure out how we can push support for those schools.”

Sanders has hopes to do a statewide tour and meet with other superintendents across the state along with union leaders and management groups that work in public education. 

“First is listening and learning,” Sanders said. “As well as attend board meetings to get to know a new school board.”

Sanders base of operations will be both in Chicago and Springfield. 

“It’s exciting, it’s not something I would’ve expected,” Sanders said. “To be honest it has always been my dream job, it’s an honor.”