In today’s rapidly evolving educational landscape, the role of culture in schools cannot be overstated. A school’s culture shapes its identity, influences student learning outcomes, and determines staff morale and effectiveness. Explore guaranteed and viable systems and structures that hardwire cultures of excellence. 

Andy RuDoss — As the superintendent of the largest elementary school district in Illinois since 2013, Andy DuRoss prioritizes investing in people as the key to ensuring the academic success and social-emotional well-being of the more than 15,000 students and 2,000 employees of School District 54.

DuRoss believes a positive culture is key to the success of students and staff. In 2017, he brought the positive psychology principles outlined by Harvard Researcher Shawn Achor to District 54. This training demonstrates how happiness and optimism fuels performance and leads to success. 

During his tenure as superintendent, District 54 has also focused on early intervention with the building of an Early Learning Center in 2014 and the implementation of free, full-day kindergarten at all of our elementary schools in 2015.

Under DuRoss’ leadership the positive culture in District 54 continues to thrive and student achievement continues to grow. Stanford University researchers found District 54 to be in the top 2% of all schools in America in student growth, stating that District 54 students achieved six years of growth in five years. Money Magazine ranked Schaumburg the 9th best place to live in America, with education being a major factor.

Mary Kay Prusnick — Mary Kay Prusnick is a member of the ED RED Executive Board and has served on the Schaumburg School District 54 Board of Education since 2011.  She is District 54’s immediate past board president and has a special interest in Board Policy.  Mary Kay is an active member of the Northwest Suburban Board Presidents Club, a networking group encouraging Board Leadership.  She is also wrapping up a year of participating in the Civility Leadership Institute, in association with Renew America Together and her alma mater, Hiram College. 

Outside of her school board service, Mary Kay is the Librarian for the Illinois Service Resource Center.  As an advocate for equity and community, Mary Kay is proud to represent her village on the Hanover Park Special Events Commission and act as Chair of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Fox Valley’s Women Build 2024.  In her free time, this summer, Mary Kay will be adding more birds to her Life List and reading biographies of the First Ladies.

Bob Kaplan — Mr. Kaplan is pretty familiar with Schaumburg School District #54.  Having grown up in Schaumburg he attended District 54 schools from kindergarten through 8th grade.   After earning his BA in Elementary Education from Illinois State University, he returned to Schaumburg to start his career as a District 54 Junior High Math and later Social Studies Teacher.  In addition to teaching, Bob directed the school newspaper and school’s student council and also coached both boys and girls basketball as well as cross country.  Bob was appointed as an Elementary Principal in 2006 where he finished out his career in District 54.  

In addition to his District 54 career, Bob worked for the Illinois High School Association as a certified official for Basketball and Softball.  He was selected to work three state finals and was ultimately named Umpire-in Chief.  Bob was actively involved in the teacher’s union at the building, district, state and national level and has served on the Board of Directors of the Premier Credit Union.  He currently is the Leadership Development Chairperson for the Illinois Retired Teachers Association and previously served on the Northwest Suburban Retired Teachers group as a past president. 

Bob is currently a member of the District 54 School Board, having served as both secretary and president.  Having won two non-successive elections, he holds the record for most times appointed to the Board.

Mostly, Bob enjoys doing “leadership development” with his six grandchildren.