|Dr. Don Senti
Years of Service as Superintendent: 1988-1995
Years in Parkway:
- Served in the United States Navy
- Seventh grade teacher in Parkway just four days after being discharged from the Navy
Highlights and Accomplishments:
- Teaching Core (English and social studies) at Central Junior - 1969
- Assistant principal at West Junior High - 1971
- Assistant principal at South Senior - 1976
- Principal of South Junior High - 1980
- Executive Leadership Principal - 1984
- Superintendent – 1988-1995
What Makes Parkway “Parkway”?
- Opening of Oak Brook, Fern Ridge High, and Southwest Middle
- Population dropped from 22,727 to 21,390
- As a teacher and school administrator . . . establishing wonderful relationships with kids and teachers.
- As a superintendent . . . reestablishing trust in the community after some very rocky times between the Board of Education and the PNEA (teacher’s assoc.) I took Vito, Bill Guinther, Bob Francis and Diane Huyer to Chicago to learn about the “Win Win” non-adversarial approach to bargaining. We visited Glen Ellen and Evanston then went to a White Sox game to figure out how to apply it to Parkway. The BOE was split on whether to try the new approach, so I waited until one of them was out of town and it passed 3-2. (There were only 6 BOE members then) That was the beginning of the non-adversarial approach that I guess is still used in Parkway. It has also since spread to many other county districts.
Parkway makes Parkway Parkway. In a suburban area with no “main street,” “town square” or “commons” the school district is the main link between the people.
Memories and Reflections of Parkway:
- Playing basketball with the kids while doing “lunch duty” when I was a principal at South Junior High. I got pretty good for a guy who was cut off his high school team. Not incidentally, we didn’t cut the teams back then. We had an A and B team for 9th grade football and 3 or 4 basketball teams. Girls’ sports were just starting.
- We had a Fall and Winter cheerleaders and poms squad and the girls had to choose one or the other. Then, I almost forced them to do a sport the other season. Before that, the athletes were just the girls who didn’t make the cheerleading or pom squad.
- Split sessions at South Junior; remembers delivering 35 bag lunches to classrooms and teachers ate with their students
- Working with both Craig Larson and Jere Hochman at South Campus
- The first year as a principal, a 33-year-old teacher died
- The second year as a principal, as he was visiting 6th graders at Barretts to assure them that South Junior was a great place and nobody would shove them in a locker; he drove back into South Junior to discover police and emergency vehicles. A student had shot another student and then killed himself.
- Both he and Dan Deschamp were promoted to the superintendent’s office and served as Executive Leadership Principals ( ELPS). District employees would tease them and request that they “send ELPS!”
I wish I was still playing basketball during lunch duty. I really didn’t want to “grow” into the other jobs I got. Actually, I had to get certified for every job I have ever had in education – AFTER I was in the job!
- Recruited to Clayton School District Superintendent: 1995 - present