Honoring an Impactful Career in Education

Jerry is completing his 46th year in education. He has been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of business, business manager, assistant superintendent and superintendent. He has been a member of Illinois ASBO for 37 years and has had the honor of serving on the Illinois ASBO Board of Directors and as officer and President. Illinois ASBO has also provided him with the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors for ASBO International, serving as the President in 2008.

He has worked in small, rural elementary school districts (Bourbonnais Elem. SD 53 and St. George SD 258), a large suburban high school district (Glenbard Twp. HSD 87), a downstate unit school district (Edwardsville CUSD 7), a special education cooperative (Cooperative Association for Special Education), and for twenty years as Assistant Superintendent for Business (10 years) and Superintendent (10 years) at Woodridge Elem. SD 68.

How did you get into the school business profession?

In 1981, I was appointed Superintendent of the St. George SD 258 in Bourbonnais, IL. At that time, it was a small, rural elementary district with 125 students and I was not only the superintendent, but also the curriculum director, personnel director, building principal, and CSBO. Because the district’s finances were so critical in the success of the district, I found that I spent the majority of my time in that area. It was challenging and rewarding to see the district go from a negative fund balance to a positive cash flow in the time I was there. It was during that time, I decided to pursue a career in School Business Management.

How has Illinois ASBO played a role in your success?

Illinois ASBO has played an integral part of making my professional life a success. It has given me the opportunities to meet and developed so many great relationships with colleagues, not only in Illinois, but, through ASBO International, around the world. My knowledge, through interactions with other CSBOs, was enriched by being able to learn from some of the brightest educators in our profession. Illinois ASBO is truly a leader in providing professional development and as a resource for every CSBO in Illinois and I would highly encourage every member to get involved in leadership positions in our organization.
What does the award mean to you?
The Calvin Jackson Career Impact Award holds special meaning to me as I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Cal for many years. I’ve walked the halls of the State Capitol building with Cal and have seen firsthand the interactions he’s had with Republicans and Democrats, members of the House and Senate. I was always so impressed with his knowledge, work ethic and the respectful manner in which Cal approached these lawmakers to discuss Illinois ASBO issues or education issues in general. It was evident that the respect was mutual when the lawmakers would stop and take time from their busy schedule to listen and chat with Cal. Cal has been an inspiration to me as well as well as many others and I thank him for his many years of service to Illinois ASBO and the children of the state.

Why do you think it is important to recognize school business officials?

I think it is very important to recognize members of Illinois ASBO and our profession. We play such an important role in the success of our school district, but many times we are viewed as simply the “number crunchers”. If we’re doing our job right, nothing is farther from the truth. Our position not only touches every aspect of educational process of our students, but also reaches out into our communities and has a significant impact on parents, nonparents and businesses within our district boundaries.

The Calvin Jackson Career Impact Award will be presented to Jerry at the Opening General Session of the 2019 Annual Conference.

Jerry Brendell

Advice that Guided 40 Years in the Business

“Early in my career, I asked a superintendent what his secret for success was. He replied with two bits of advice – one, surround yourself with good people and let them do their job and two, you grow as a person by living slightly outside your comfort zone. That was over 40 years ago, and I’ve remembered and tried to live by that advice.”

–Jerry Brendel
2019 Calvin Jackson Career Impact Award Recipient