PROACT Search had the good fortune of bringing veteran educator Margaret Longo on board to serve as a consultant in a number of capacities. Dr. Longo recently concluded her distinguished 8-year tenure as Superintendent of the Forest Ridge Elementary School District 142 in Oak Forest, IL. She now serves as the Interim Executive Director of Exceptional Children Have Opportunities (ECHO), an organization that opens doors for exceptional students from 17 school districts in the south suburbs of Chicago. In addition, Dr. Longo has assisted PROACT as a lead consultant for regional searches and has served as a senior consultant for several major superintendent and cabinet searches across the country. She also mentors 15 Chicago principals for PROACT’s sister company, the SUPES Academy.
Dr. Longo certainly experienced her fair share of challenges during her ongoing career in education. Among those she faced was the impending dissolution and consolidation of her district in 2004. Despite being a first-time superintendent, Dr. Longo expertly balanced support for the community while preparing for the inevitable transition, ensuring that services to students and the community remained at the highest possible level. Throughout her career, Dr. Longo also played an active role in advocating for professional development for educational administrators across the state through her many leadership positions in organizations such as WSNA, SCOPE, the Southwest Cook County Cooperative, the Illinois Association of School Administrators of South Cook, and others.
Positive results have always followed Dr. Longo. Under her leadership as principal, Central Junior High School was named a State and National Blue Ribbon School, which resulted in her opportunity to serve as a national school evaluator. She has also earned a host of awards from organizations across the state for her superior leadership in instruction. In her current role coaching 15 Chicago Public Schools principals, Dr. Longo’s efforts have played a critical role in boosting graduation rates to a recent high.
Like many educational leaders, Dr. Longo knew from an early age that education was her lifelong goal. As a result, she was able to focus all of her studies on becoming the best educator that she could be. From the time she entered the field, Dr. Longo’s passion was constantly bolstered by the striving of her colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates for the benefit of students and stakeholders everywhere. Though Dr. Longo has spent the majority of her career teaching, mentoring, and coaching, she recognizes that her learning is never complete. One of her most important lessons was that leaders must transfer their own enthusiasm and passion to the organization that they serve. No leader can achieve the results that he or she envisions without fully embracing the organization. In each of her leadership roles, Dr. Longo has dived in headfirst, amplifying her organizations’ strengths, tending to their weaknesses, and leaving a positive impact on students and educators everywhere.