School District U-46, Illinois

Tony Sanders
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Student Enrollment: 36,336 (75% students of color, 55% economically disadvantaged, 36% Limited English Proficient)

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Superintendent Bio

Chief Executive Officer Tony Sanders runs the day-to-day operations of School District U-46, a place he has called home since 2007.  Mr. Sanders oversees the implementation of all Board and District policies and procedures as well as the alignment of resources to all District initiatives and improvement plans for the state’s second-largest school district. He works in close collaboration with an administrative staff that manages a balanced District budget of more than $500 million, and he helped lead a successful state-wide effort to pass equitable state education funding. 

A leader known for his diligence, hands-on and collaborative approach, Mr. Sanders works with staff and community members to implement goals supporting the District’s Strategic Plan which calls for ensuring all students gain the experiences they need to graduate from School District U-46 prepared to contribute and compete in a global society. He’s proud of the District’s many achievements, from a thriving Dual Language program to expanded early education opportunities

In 2018, Mr. Sanders served as the Chair of the Large Countywide and Suburban Consortium, a network of some of the nation's most successful district leaders. Under Mr. Sanders' tenure as CEO, U-46 has implemented universal full-day kindergarten, expanded Dual Language and Gifted programming, provided additions to three elementary schools and implemented several new comprehensive curriculum resources and launched a 1;1 technology program, providing Chromebooks to fifth through 12th graders. The District has also implemented a trauma-informed care approach to responding to behavioral issues and supporting students.

Prior to becoming CEO, Mr. Sanders served as the Chief of Staff for former Superintendent Dr. José M. Torres. Mr. Sanders joined the District as Chief Communications Officer after holding the same title in St. Louis Public Schools. He brings more than two decades of leadership experience to his current post, having served as Acting Director for Governmental Relations and Public Information for the Illinois State Board of Education and other top posts at the Department of Professional Regulation and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Mr. Sanders earned his Master of Business Administration degree from New York Institute of Technology – Ellis College, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Mr. Sanders and his wife, Schelli, live in Elgin with their two children, Jack and Lexie, both U-46 graduates.