Dr. Jeff Thake

Williston Public School District 1


I am beginning my 24th year in public education. I am beginning my 8th year as a school superintendent. Prior to becoming a superintendent, I served 5 years as a high school principal, 2 years as a high school associate principal, 2 years as a middle school dean of students, and 7 years in the classroom.

I earned my bachelor's degree (Music Education) from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. My master's degree is from Aurora University in educational leadership. I recently earned my doctorate from Aurora University. My dissertation is titled: An Examination of Rural Students Engagement with College and Career Planning.

Professionally, I was one of the first of 28 superintendents to earn my national certification. I have been an active member of three elite cohorts and consortiums through the American Association of School Administrators for the past 3 years: AASA Personalized Learning Cohort, AASA Digital Consortium, and AASA Redefining Ready Cohort.

The educational transformations we were able to implement in my last position attracted numerous accolades, including presentations all over the United States at educational leadership conferences. Huffington Post and Education Talk Radio also were interested in our journey to 1:1 and personalized learning.

While in Illinois as a superintendent, my peers elected me to serve on an advisory board to the Illinois State Board of Education. Last year, I was elected by my peers to serve on the AASA Governing Board.

I am married to my wife (Melissa) of nearly 22 years. Melissa has her degree in elementary education. My son (Logan) is beginning his senior year at Knox College in Galesburg, IL. Logan is student teaching this Fall (elementary education major) and he has aspirations to be a teacher and a coach. Logan also plays baseball for Knox College, as a left-handed pitcher.

My interests include educational research, baseball, basketball, football and hockey. I enjoy playing golf when I am able. I still play the trumpet. I am known simply as blues trumpet player "Jeff from Chicago" in the French Quarter in New Orleans and on Beale Street in Memphis, TN.

You may contact Dr. Thake at or follow his Facebook Page (Dr. Jeff Thake - Superintendent of Williston Public School District 1)