Former Stevenson superintendent dies

 
By Katie Smith
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 2/9/2017 10:10 AM
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  • Richard DuFour

    Richard DuFour

Former Adlai E. Stevenson High School District 125 Superintendent Richard DuFour, 69, died Wednesday.

The author and educator died at his home in Virginia, after a long battle with cancer, Stevenson officials said.

"While we have many amazing current and former colleagues that have helped to build Stevenson High School into a model of school reform and a nationally recognized school of excellence, Rick was instrumental in helping to shape our culture and sustain our mission of 'Success for Every Student,'" District 125 Superintendent Eric Twadell, who worked closely with DuFour in his early days at Stevenson, said in a news release.

Throughout his 40-year career, DuFour worked as a public school teacher, principal and superintendent. During his 19-year tenure at the Lincolnshire high school, Stevenson was one of just three schools in the nation to win the United States Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award on four occasions and the first comprehensive high school designated a New American High School as a model of successful school reform.

DuFour also was recognized as one of the leading authorities on helping schools implement the Professional Learning Communities at Work process. Over the course of his career, he was the author of numerous books, including the best-selling "Professional Learning Communities at Work," "Learning by Doing" and "In Praise of American Educators."

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend and colleague Rick DuFour," said Jeffrey C. Jones, CEO of Solution Tree, an educational publisher and professional development provider. "Improving schools was his life's passion, and his impressive body of work has touched the lives of thousands of students and educators. I have no doubt his work will continue to impact teaching and learning around the world for years to come."

DuFour was named one of the Top 100 School Administrators in North America by Executive Educator magazine, was presented the Distinguished Scholar Practitioner Award from the University of Illinois and was the 2004 recipient of the National Staff Development Council's Distinguished Service Award.

"It was an honor and a privilege for me to serve as president of the Stevenson school board for 16 of Rick's 19 years at Stevenson," said Merv Roberts, a 16-year school board member who was on the panel when it hired DuFour. "In more than 50 years of working with and observing leaders in education, public sector and the private sector, I have observed many effective leaders. Rick was the best of the best."

He is survived by his wife, Rebecca DuFour; his son, Matthew; daughter-in-law, Kristin; daughter, Hannah; son-in- law, Brandon; and grandsons, Sam and Lee.

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