Jim Cox, 70, of Clinton, has always wanted to be an educator.
Jim was raised on a farm south of Champaign, Ill. Since he was a child, he has had a strong desire to be a teacher and has since received a bachelors and masters degree for education and a specialist degree in school administration.
Jim began his career in education as a classroom teacher before moving on to administration. He never wanted to be anything but a classroom teacher.
“I enjoyed and continue to enjoy the classroom aspect of seeing the faces of kids when the light goes on and they finally get it,” Cox said.
He said this would be his first love, where teaching was concerned.
Jim’s “second love” has been being an administrator. Jim has served as an elementary and middle school principal, as well as assistant principal in a high school. He never planned to get into administration, but was encouraged into this path by others. He said one of the superintendents he was working for strongly encouraged him to think about becoming an administrator. Jim said being an administrator allows him to work with others to improve the quality of education for the student.
Jim has been a superintendent for 35 years. In 1994, Jim moved to Clinton and became the superintendent for the Northeast Community School District in Goose Lake. He had been given the opportunity to retire from Illinois and he took it. Jim said he had been retired perhaps three days when he received a call from a job search firm asking him if he would be interested in applying for the superintendent role.
Jim has enjoyed his time in the Northeast district. He has had to deal with some unique challenges during his time in the district. He said maintaining fiscal solvency, especially during uncertain times, has been difficult.
However, Jim has also enjoyed his time as superintendent. He especially enjoyed working on the school’s planned improvements. He said school infrastructure issues are important and he enjoys working on them.
“I think that a school district needs to have a vision in terms of its infrastructure,” Jim said. “If you don’t have a vision, then you run the risk of losing your school district; losing your organization.”
Jim’s favorite part of working in education and being a superintendent are the students. He enjoys the exuberance children exhibit. Jim is planning on retiring in a couple of years, after a few projects are finished. He said when he does retire, he will miss the children the most.
The most important children in Jim’s life are his grandchildren. He and his wife of 44 years, Carol, have two children, five step-grandsons and two granddaughters. Jim is most proud of his grandchildren, who he called the light of his life.