The Role of the Superintendent
The superintendent is hired by and serves as chief executive officer to the Board of Education. It is her responsibility to provide creative, dynamic and effective leadership and secure maximum educational opportunities for children by constantly striving to improve the quality of instruction.
The superintendent endeavors to obtain and develop the most competent staff to carry out the schools’ purposes. She provides leadership in securing and managing funds and facilities needed for an effective instructional program. She encourages and maintains communication between the school district and the community.
Dr. Karla Guseman was named as Joliet Township High School’s next Superintendent by the Board of Education at the February 11 meeting. Dr. Guseman is JTHS’ second female Superintendent in District history.
Born and raised in Joliet, Dr. Guseman began her career in education at Joliet Township High School in 2000 as a science teacher at Joliet Central. She served in this capacity for six years, taking on various leadership roles associated with the science curriculum, school improvement planning, the Strategic Plan, and professional development. In 2006, she shifted to an administrative role as the Curriculum Director for Science and Applied Life before being promoted in 2011 to Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services, the role she currently holds today.
Under Dr. Guseman’s direct leadership, JTHS has made significant educational gains. Culturally responsive teaching cohorts have been implemented, and all employees receive implicit bias training. Dr. Guseman believes that diversity is a strength and that students and staff learn empathy when they are afforded the opportunity to learn from different backgrounds and cultures.
Dr. Guseman believes that all District administrators must ensure fiscal responsibility in spending and has proven this belief through supervision of district grant managers who oversee nearly four million dollars in grant funding and an educational services budget of over $70,000. Through this budget, JTHS has expanded the Advanced Placement program, resulting in national recognition as AP District of the Year and an increase from 196 students in the program in 2010 to over 1,000 students currently in Advanced Placement programming today. Dr. Guseman believes that ensuring access and success on AP exams for all JTHS students is extremely important for our families and community. As a result of AP programming and Dual Credit agreements with Joliet Junior College and the University of St. Francis, many students have been able to begin college with credit and save on tuition costs. Dr. Guseman’s leadership has resulted in rigorous graduation requirements and supports for students that have improved the graduation rate district-wide by 10 percent over the past 15 years.
Career and Technical Education is a focus for Dr. Guseman as the District has continued to implement the Career Academy structure. This focus has resulted in additional partnerships such as the Fire Science, Law Enforcement, and Advanced Integrated Maintenance Dual Credit programs with Joliet Junior College. In addition, innovation in technology has been leveraged under Dr. Guseman’s leadership with the incorporation of over 20 Blended Learning courses that allow students to learn through a combination of face-to-face and online learning that is similar to the courses students will encounter in college and in the workplace.
“The JTHS Board of Education is confident that Dr. Guseman’s experience, talents, and skills will positively guide the district into its next chapter,” said Board of Education President Dr. Tracy Spesia. “Her dedication to JTHS students is only matched by her commitment to improvement. We wholeheartedly welcome Dr. Guseman as our next Superintendent.”
Community involvement is immensely important to Dr. Guseman, which is demonstrated by her leadership within the Kiwanis Club of Joliet where she was awarded the Distinguished President Award for her leadership and involvement with high school Key Clubs and Builder’s Clubs in District 86 and Elwood Schools. Dr. Guseman serves as the YMCA Metro Board Secretary and is a member of the Board Governance Committee. Dr. Guseman resides in the District and is the proud parent of a 2017 Joliet Central graduate, parent of a current Joliet West junior, and will have another student at JTHS in two years.
“I have spent my entire life in this community and have established strong relationships with industry professionals, post-secondary institutions, elected officials, parents, and community members,” said Dr. Guseman. “Having spent the last 20 years of my educational career at JTHS, I am both honored and excited to work collaboratively with our community and our outstanding administration and staff to continually improve District programs for our students.”
Joliet Township High School welcomes Dr. Guseman as the next Superintendent.