EDWARDSVILLE — The longtime curriculum director will step up as District 7's superintendent next year.
The District 7 school board voted to approve Lynda Andre as successor to Ed Hightower, who is retiring as Edwardsville's superintendent.
"It's an honor and a privilege to be chosen to lead District 7 upon Dr. Hightower's retirement in 2015," Andre said.
Hightower announced his retirement last month, after 18 years as superintendent and 40 years in education. His retirement takes effect at the end of the 2014-15 school year.
Andre has been with District 7 for 23 years. She co-wrote the first early childhood grant in 1992, then developed and managed the early childhood program for four years. She became grant coordinator in 1996, and was named assistant superintendent for curriculum in 1999.
In addition, Andre has taught graduate-level classes at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and holds an Illinois Superintendent's Endorsement.
Andre has a bachelor's degree in child development from Western Illinois University, and a masters and doctorate in education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
In addition to her work developing the curriculum for District 7, she is co-author of two college textbooks used in education courses.
"There is not a more qualified, committed and dedicated candidate, internal or external, than Lynda Andre," Hightower said. "She has committed her entire professional life to improving District 7 programs and services... She is the right person at the right time for this position."
Board president Jill Bertels said Andre is "universally respected" by her colleagues. "We couldn't be more pleased that she has accepted the position," Bertels said.
The decision comes less than two weeks after Hightower announced his retirement. But board member Jeff Miller said that input they have received from parents, teachers and other administrators is "overwhelmingly positive" regarding Dr. Andre, and she has his complete support.
"I'll be honest, a year ago I believed it would be best to search both inside and outside the district for the next superintendent," Miller said. "(But) over the last 12 months I have been able to observe Dr. Andre firsthand... I am now completely convinced that she is the right person for this important position."
Hightower's tenure will continue through the next school year. Andre said she looks forward to working with Hightower during his last year.
Andre and her husband have lived in Edwardsville since 1976. They have raised four children, all of whom attended District 7 and graduated from Edwardsville High School.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2507.