SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today named School District U-46 Superintendent Dr. Tony Sanders the new state superintendent of education after a nationwide search. He will assume his duties in late February. ISBE Deputy Education Officer Krish Mohip will serve as interim state superintendent of education during the transition. Dr. Carmen I. Ayala’s term as state superintendent of education concludes Jan. 31. She announced her retirement after 40 years of service and leadership in Illinois public schools.
“Dr. Tony Sanders is an extraordinary choice for State Superintendent of Education,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Dr. Sanders’ breadth of experience as superintendent of School District U-46 and his entire background have prepared him to take on this role. His focus on innovation, social emotional development, and academic excellence make him an extraordinary pick. I can think of no better person to lead the Illinois State Board of Education as we continue to invest in, support, and elevate our students and educators.”
“Dr. Tony Sanders has distinguished himself as a visionary leader and passionate advocate for students and educators,” said ISBE Board Chair Dr. Steven Isoye. “As the superintendent of one of Illinois’ largest school districts, he intimately understands the strengths, the policy history, and the challenges of our public schools. At U-46, he has championed equity, expanded opportunities for students, and brought innovative new programs to the district. The Board looks forward to his leadership; we are confident he will build on our record-high graduation rates and college and career readiness to continue leading Illinois’ schools in a positive direction.
“We are also very grateful to have Krish Mohip serve as interim state superintendent. Krish has a wealth of education leadership experience and will provide important guidance and oversight for the agency during this transition.”
Dr. Sanders expanded the district’s offerings during his tenure in U-46, which is headquartered in Elgin and is the second-largest school district in Illinois. He added full-day kindergarten for all students and implemented a developmentally appropriate play-based instructional program. Dr. Sanders grew the district’s dual language program and created a new alternative high school, the DREAM Academy, to reduce expulsions and better serve students in need of trauma-informed care. He also invested in a grow-your-own educator initiative to provide educational support professionals the ability to return to school to earn their teaching credentials. The initiative has supported more than 60 U-46 employees in receiving full tuition reimbursement as they work toward their teacher licensure. Dr. Sanders improved the district’s financial standing, while overseeing a $660 million operating budget.
Dr. Sanders also has advocated at the state and federal levels as a member and past chair of the Large Countywide and Suburban District Consortium. He supported the effort to reform Illinois’ school funding formula and enact Evidence-Based Funding and to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act.
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 received 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.
Krish Mohip has served as ISBE’s deputy education officer for operational education since 2019. He has overseen the state’s spending of $7.8 billion in federal pandemic relief aid and other multimillion-dollar grants. He chaired the Whole Child and Make SAFE Task Forces, providing the General Assembly with critical recommendations for providing students holistic supports and preventing child abuse. He supported the two Illinois school districts currently under the direction of Financial Oversight Panels, strengthened relationships with Illinois’ Regional Offices of Education, and supported the implementation of ISBE’s system of support for schools in the greatest need.
Prior to joining ISBE, Mohip served as the chief executive officer of Youngstown City Schools in Youngstown, Ohio, and was a school principal, deputy chief of schools, and chief of schools for Chicago Public Schools. Mohip received his bachelor’s degree from Mount Saint Clare College, his Master of Education from Loyola University Chicago, and his MBA from Louisiana State University Shreveport. He is currently a doctoral candidate at National Louis University.
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