Harlem School District superintendent shares State of Schools

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - You may be familiar with the State of the Union Address, but here in the stateline, Harlem’s own superintendent told residents the State of the Schools. Some topics included big changes coming to the area’s second-largest school district, which helps achieve its motto of attending to every student’s goals and needs.

Despite a decreasing enrollment district-wide, Harlem’s Career and Technical Education Program is increasing, to the point that breaking ground on a new building is part of the district’s plans.

Harlem’s Superintendent Terrell Yarbrough says he had no intention of becoming a superintendent when he made the decision to work in education. His goals were simply to inspire kids as a history teacher and a basketball coach.

“I said I cried when I got the role because coming from the inner-city of Milwaukee and I’m just going to say that,” said Yarbrough. “It’s just, nobody can believe when I say I’m the superintendent of Harlem School District back home, that I’m the superintendent of Harlem District Schools.”

Fast forward to today, whereas the district’s leader for two years Yarbrough says his job comes down to one motivation.

“Being able to help so many different kids and staff in this role, I love it,” said Yarbrough.

Yarborugh realizes every student has different needs and goals, and that’s why he’s a big believer in the district’s CTE program.

“Our kids who might not necessarily want to go to college, but want to do a trade,” said Yarbrough. “Now, they see how important it is to Harlem.”

The CTE Program focuses on career-based classes such as welding or automotive. Yarbrough claims the program has grown so much, Harlem plans to break ground on an additional building for more CTE courses.

“We need them to be successful, and we should all take ownership and pride of what the school district is doing in our community,” said Parks Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tonya Lamia.

As a Huskie graduate herself, Lamia feels incredibly proud the Parks Chamber of Commerce gave Yarbrough the opportunity to share Harlem’s successes at the State of the School Address. Both believe the program can give kids the tools they need to thrive.

The hope is to start construction on the additional CTE building this summer and finish it by 2025.