I serve on various committees, groups, and boards both at the state and national level that are addressing educational policy and advocacy. I am working with the Southern Illinois Future Teachers Coalition (SIFTC), Scaling Educational Pathways in Illinois, Pathways to Prosperity Institute which is an intuitive of Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Advance Illinois, Equity First Superintendents, the Partnership for Resilience/Resilient Southern Illinois which is working with the Education Redesign Lab at the Harvard, Stand for Children as policy fellow on dual credit access and quality, the Illinois Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (ILACEP), National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP), the Illinois Interactive Report Card at Northern Illinois University users group, am an active member of the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), the Illinois High School District Organization (IHSDO), Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools, and a member of the Illinois Association of Christian Administrators (IACA). I also enjoy the opportunities to guest lecture in classes at Eastern Illinois University, McKendree University, and University of Illinois about various topics in education including finance, public relations, and curriculum.
Student safety has always been a priority for schools around the world and it is also a continuously moving target. In recent years this has meant providing for a comprehensive approach of wrap around services to ensure that the whole child and family is supported. We have embarked on many efforts including quarterly school safety meetings (Johnson County Children's Cabinet), involving multiple agencies and stakeholders, expansion of school based counseling service, facilities related improvements, trauma informed and sensitive training for staff, along with an enhanced school resources officer (SRO) program. I have been actively involved in each of these initiatives. One point of involvement has been becoming a trained, fully sworn, certified law enforcement officer. This process started in April 2018 and since that time I have attended the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB) Police Academy along with all other required training. You will likely not see me in a police uniform, because the goal of my participation in the training was not to replace anyone in the SRO program, but to provide additional understanding and coverage in case of a shortage along with building a better bridge, understandings, and partnerships between law enforcement and schools around the state for the sack of students and families. This relationship has allowed for better local practices and a more informed policy discussion.
Being a native of Johnson County also allows me to serve in various community roles as well, which include service on the SI NOW board (formerly SI Bridges to the Future) which covers the southern 17 counties, One Shawnee Regional Community Development Board which covers Illinois House District 118, Create Bridges, Little Egypt Emmaus and Chrysalis Camps, service on the Eagle House Ministry Board, and being the youth leader at Fellowship Baptist Church, which is the church that I grew up in.
In addition to seeing our students locally thrive I have also been involved with missions, both internationally, including India, Haiti, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, and in the states, which allows me to see school and life in other parts of the world. These experiences fuel my passion to ensure that we "strive to inspire students to become positive, lifelong learners" and also provide students with experiences that allow for them to be equipped for "a global and multicultural society."
Joshua W. Stafford