Dr. Ed Hightower

Retiring Edwardsville Superintendent Dr. Ed Hightower is a man who likely drives around the Edwardsville area and marvels at the facilities and what kind of impact he has made.

Get The Latest News!

Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.

However, he realizes that without the support he had received none of it would have been possible.

“I have spent 41 years in education and 19 of them in Edwardsville,” he said. “I talked to Mannie Jackson yesterday (last Thursday) about the monetary contributions that had been made to the community over those years. The bottom line through the efforts and support of so many people, we have accomplished as much as we can and the district is in good shape.”

Some can barely let loose of the reigns when they leave a job, but Hightower knows he is giving the superintendent position to a good person in Dr. Lynda Andre.

“I am looking forward to turning the reigns over to Lynda Andre, who will do an outstanding job,” he said. “I am going to pursue a partnership with Mannie Jackson in developing the Lincoln School Project. I am closing out one chapter and beginning another exciting chapter of my life.”

In regard to his life in education, he said he is most proud when people come back and say, ‘Dr. Hightower you had an impact on my life and what I am doing now.’

“There are so many kids that you don’t know if you are really reaching them but when you see it, it is most gratifying,” he said.

The retiring superintendent said 18 or 19 individuals in the Edwardsville system have earned their doctorate since he arrived and that makes him extremely proud.

It has been of top importance to Hightower to keep the Edwardsville children safe in school.

“I am most proud and happy that in my 19 years as superintendent, we have not had one violent act or threat of violence in our schools and we kept our kids safe,” he said. “That is in a time when every time you pick up a paper or turn on a TV or radio you are hearing of tragic occurrences throughout the school community.”

When a youth is able to move on to college after leaving Edwardsville, that also is important to the retiring administrator.

Article continues after sponsor message

“We have prepared them and they do so well,” he said of EHS grads. “ I am extremely proud of our academic side, performing arts and athletics. We have been the top high school in the Southwestern Conference for 15 years for all sports combined. It is now an expected thing for our kids to do well in post-season play.”

The business community and parents have stood behind him beyond anyone else, Hightower said.

“I have also been fortunate enough to have great employees and the accomplishments can be shared by all stakeholders, not just Ed Hightower,” he said.

Edwardsville baseball coach Tim Funkhouser said he definitely appreciates the opportunity Dr. Hightower provided him when he was 24 years old to take over a team coached by Tom Pyle that was 40-0.

“It was an honor to have his trust and support right from the beginning to allow our program to succeed and continue growing,” Funkhouser said.

The baseball coach said Dr. Hightower led the way for the facility upgrade throughout the high school complexes and other school updates and construction of new schools.

“He was always at the heart of fund-raising and the drive toward it,” Funkhouser said of Hightower’s role. “I was in there personally with different community leaders and donors and partly outside looking in. I think he sold that vision to other donors and supporters of that quality of excellence. It is amazing what we now have with our facilities.”

Edwardsville High School Principal Dennis Cramsey first became acquainted with Dr. Hightower when he was taking a course under him at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville called The Principalship. Through that connection it opened an opportunity for Cramsey in the administrative ranks.

“He has been an amazing mentor, role model, friend and much more,” Cramsey said. “He understands how to navigate through tough situations so that the outcome is always the best decision for students. That is the amazing part; it is always a student-centered focus on any decision that is ever made.”

One of the final things Hightower said at his retirement party on Friday night was remembering something Mike Beaber, who ultimately became the Alton High School superintendent, said to him, when he was a principal in that system.

“He said, ‘Ed if you put the children first with all your decisions, you will never fail.”

As Principal Cramsey said, that is how Hightower approached his 41 years in education, always putting the students ahead of everything else.

More like this:

Mar 3, 2024 - Letter To The Editor: Hightower Advocates for Adams In Alton Schools' Transformation

Feb 29, 2024 - Construction Begins at Edwardsville's Plummer Family Park

Feb 28, 2024 - Opinion: The Politics Of Race Appears Still Alive

Mar 11, 2024 - Letter To The Editor: Letter Writer Revisits His Opinion On Sunnybrook

Feb 27, 2024 - Edwardsville School District Announces Key Leadership Appointments at Lincoln Middle School and Edwardsville High School