About the Superintendent
Dr. Ehren Jarrett is in his 10th school year leading the Rockford Public Schools as superintendent.
He has overseen the implementation of a $250 million facilities plan to build schools and provide major upgrades at all campuses. With recent federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, additional upgrades are underway, including plans to provide air conditioning to all learning spaces.
He and his leadership team are implementing a systemwide framework to ensure all students find success. The Rockford Public Schools equity vision is to create learning environments that work for all students and interrupt the predictability of student outcomes based on zip code. He created a role for a Chief of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with a goal to ensure African American voices are heard.
With the state’s updated school funding model, Dr. Jarrett has prioritized strategic budgeting and increased resources for all schools, emphasizing support for schools with the greatest need.
Fiscal responsibility has been a priority since the start of Dr. Jarrett’s tenure. His administration and School Board held the tax levy flat for 10 years, from a peak rate of 7.93 to a projected low of 5.72 for the 2022-23 tax cycle. The tax rate is now competitive among local districts. The goal is to support the Rockford community to attract and retain families and a workforce.
Dr. Jarrett worked with the City of Rockford to invest in Rockford Promise, the first major college promise program in Illinois. The scholarship program ensures all RPS 205 seniors who graduate with a 3.0 GPA can attend college, tuition-free, at Northern Illinois University, Rock Valley College or Rockford University. During the first two years of this innovative partnership with the City of Rockford, more than 300 full-tuition scholarships have been awarded.
He is finding solutions to the worker and teacher shortage with unique grow-your-own teacher pathway programs that focus on current school support staff and students, plus a principal development program.
Dr. Jarrett was a driving force behind the high school redesign to smaller career academies with innovative support from the local business community. With this redesign, the district was named the nation’s third Ford Next Generation Learning Model Community. Students now enroll in one of 14 career pathways, coinciding with a 500% increase in dual credit course enrollment, a 300% increase in Advanced Placement course enrollment, plus providing students with a menu of 14 career/job certifications to earn before they graduate.
Jarrett earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Northern Illinois University. NIU’s College of Education has honored him as Alumni of the Year; he also is an emeritus member of NIU Alumni Board. He is a member of the Alignment Rockford Governing Board and the Discovery Center Board of Directors. In addition to membership on the Ford NGL Leadership Council and its Superintendent’s Council, Dr. Jarrett is the immediate past president of the Board of Directors for the Large Unit District Association, which serves 51 percent of Illinois students.
He lives in Rockford with his wife, Christie, and their two children.
Superintendent Student Advisory Council
The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC) is a group of students from each RPS 205 high school that meets regularly, with a goal of encouraging goodwill, leadership and unity among RPS 205 students and the district.