Dr. Tony Sanders
Dr. Tony Sanders was appointed by the State Board of Education after a nationwide search. His term started on February 23, 2023.
Prior to his arrival at ISBE, Dr. Sanders served as the superintendent of School District U-46, the second-largest school district in Illinois, for nearly a decade. During his tenure at U-46, Dr. Sanders added full-day kindergarten for all students, grew the district’s dual language program, created a new alternative high school to reduce expulsions and better serve students in need of trauma-informed care, invested in a grow-your-own educator initiative, and improved the district’s financial standing, while overseeing a $660 million operating budget. He also was a fierce advocate for the implementation of Evidence-Based Funding to change Illinois’ public school funding structure and provide greater equity for students across Illinois.
Prior to becoming the U-46 superintendent in 2014, Dr. Sanders served as the district’s chief of communications and accountability and then chief of staff. He also previously served as the chief communications officer for St. Louis Public Schools and in communications and governmental relations roles within Illinois government, including at ISBE.
Dr. Sanders has held positions on numerous boards and committees, including the Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium, Suburban Superintendents Association, Large Unit District Association Board of Directors, Illinois Association of School Administrators – COVID-19 Transition Team, Latino College Landscape Study Advisory Committee, and Vision 20/20 Committee for Equitable School Funding.
Dr. Sanders has received multiple honors, including the 2021 Illinois Association of School Administrators Superintendent of Distinction, 2021 Award of Merit from the Illinois School Public Relations Association for his Weekly Staff Newsletter, 2019 Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award, and 2015 Hanover Park Educator of the Year.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Springfield, his Master of Business Administration from New York Institute of Technology, his Chief School Business Official Endorsement from Northern Illinois University, an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Judson University, and his Doctor of Education from Aurora University.