A Letter to the Community: Dr. Charles Johns

As your new superintendent of Glenbrook District 225, I’ve been fortunate to spend a substantial amount of time, throughout the spring and early summer, learning about the community, our staff, and our students.  I have enjoyed a wide range of community interactions such as walking in the parades, meetings with municipal leaders and visiting with students in summer school.  If you were one of those individuals, I thank you; otherwise, I look forward to a chance to meet soon.

I have found that there’s a beauty in beginning any new endeavor.  It challenges our minds to grow, learn, and move forward. Coming to the Glenbrooks, I am so excited to meet the wonderful people in these communities and I know that with each interaction, a new inspiration emerges.  As I continue my work in the community, I have three key objectives that I hope to bring to the Glenbrooks: honor the past, enjoy the present and create the future.

In my short time in the community, I’ve come to learn that there is tremendous pride in the Glenbrook schools.  This pride is the result of decades of excellence.  This excellence is the result of supportive families and community members, dedicated staff and hard-working young people.  The evidence of the success of our schools can be seen by the number of generations of families that return to raise their families here.  As a new leader of the district schools, it is incumbent upon me to really understand and honor the past of the community.  We never want to lose sight of what brings people to choose our community. 

At the same time, we cannot be entrenched in the past.  We all know that times change and our young people have opportunities that never existed even ten years ago.  For example, the rapid growth in the use of high-quality educational technology is upon us.  What seemed cutting-edge a few years ago is common practice throughout young people’s lives today.  Unfortunately, some of these new developments have cautionary tales that come with them.  We know that our young people are facing pressures and issues in ways that can be overwhelming. While these are often culture-wide issues, we know that our schools can be places to help children learn to navigate the benefits and drawbacks of our modern society.  Ultimately, we want to provide young people with the tools and resources to grow, learn and enjoy the present.

Finally, because of its rich history and its ability to successfully offer excellent educational opportunity to all students, the district must look out ahead and design educational experiences to prepare our students for the future.  Providing our students with the best means possible to continue their growth and development after high school is our key responsibility.  Enabling young people to grasp ways that they can create an exciting and compelling future for themselves and their community is a key part of our mission in schools.

At the start of a new school year, we witness how intensely our freshmen and new teachers listen.  They seek to understand each other and their roles in the larger experience/environment.  As I begin my journey on the leadership team at the Glenbrooks, I hold myself accountable to learning through listening and being present at as many events as possible.  I view my work as ensuring that our organization focuses on building relationships and getting results. While these two objectives are often seen as polar opposites, I’ve learned through experience that they actually are supportive of each other.  Achieving results is reinforcing and motivating; whereas, building relationships becomes necessary to getting those results in the first place. In this quest, I would love to hear about your stories. If you see me at an event, please feel comfortable reaching out and sharing with me an honored part of our district’s history, something that brings joy to the community and your ideas for the future.

A Letter to the Community: Dr. Charles Johns