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Meet Michael Jacoby of Illinois Association of School Business Officials

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Jacoby.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I began my work in education as a high school vocal music director in Morris, IL. It was a wonderful opportunity coming out of college (University of Iowa) as there really was not a vocal music program and the district was highly invested in creating one. This included purchasing nearly everything needed for a program… I very quickly became acquainted with the Business Manager of the district, working together to create the program. He was a fantastic mentor and when I took a career step to pursue a masters degree and certification to be a principal, he recommended adding school business to my credentials and volunteered to serve as my local internship supervisor.

At the end of those studies, I applied to both a principalship and a school business position. The later offered first, and the rest is history.

From Morris to Geneva as the new Director of Finance was a great career move. In fact, I stayed for 20 years and ended my service there as Superintendent of Schools. The district grew from 1300 students in 1986 to nearly 6000 in 2006. Nine referendums to keep up with growth and a community that valued quality education made for an exciting tenure and a true executive growth opportunity in my career.

During my years in Geneva, I took on a leadership role serving on the board of directors for the organization I now lead as its CEO. I was honored to serve as their elected president in 2000-2001 and when the CEO position opened in 2006, I saw that step as way to serve the greater education community in Illinois and advocate for the school business profession.

Now in my 11th year as the Executive Director/CEO of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials (Illinois ASBO), I am extremely proud of the progress we have made to increase the value of the school business profession in the eyes of local citizens, school board members, superintendents, legislators and other policy makers across the state.

In addition, our members now have a place at the statewide policy table to help promote excellence in education and educational leadership and school funding in Illinois. What an exciting journey this career has been!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The obstacles and challenges in running a growing school district and dealing with significant financial stress in a state that has not had balanced budgets for years are many. Every decision to build a new school, pass a tax levy, suspend or expel a wayward student, or implement a new curriculum brings with it supporters and detractors. But I felt blessed to lead in a community that had more support than not.

As the current CEO of Illinois ASBO, the biggest challenge has been our state financial situation. As a statewide organization committed to supporting all 1.9 million children in Illinois, it has been so hard to see over half of them underserved due to the debilitating effect of deficit budgets at the state level. Generations of students go underserved and the financial scenario gets worse rather than better. It is hard to maintain hope that this can be reversed. But with excellent partners across the state, we are making headway into a new funding formula that could lift the obstacle that has hindered the education of so many students.

On a personal level, any public servant or CEO gives a portion of his or her life to that service.

Children and spouses often take a back seat and are challenged to “understand” that dad cannot make it to their concert or sporting event every time. I am sure that my three children and my wife would not complain, but I often wondered if I could have supported them a little better if I did not have the responsibilities of leading a large organization. No regrets, just something that I have wrestled with over the years.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Illinois Association of School Business Officials – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Illinois ASBO is one of the foremost associations for school business officials in the country. Our primary focus is professional development for school leaders.

I have seen us grow in membership and impact over the last decade. We are front and center in any education policy discussion at the state level, the premier trainer of school business officials, have a wonderful impact through high quality publications and provide our members with a return on investment that is second to none in this industry.

But it is our members who are the real reason for our success. They volunteer for 60 to 80 seminar presentations annually and bring the content for 5 day conferences, 2 joint conferences with other entities and upwards of 70 breakouts at our own annual conference.

Our mission is to provide our members with professional development, programs and services, advocacy and networking for the sole purpose of advancing best practice and deep relationships within the field. I think we achieve that at a high level. Higher than other related affiliates throughout the country. This is achieved with a great staff and members who put their heart into service. This certainly sets us apart from other entities.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We hope to achieve a new funding formula for school districts in Illinois. One that focuses on a high quality adequate education for all students. This has been 9 years in the making and is about the emerge from the 100th General Assembly. It has been over a quarter century since the funding formula was updated. We consider it a great accomplishment to be on the verge of a new generation of opportunity for children in Illinois.


  • Annual Membership in Illinois ASBO $350

Contact Info:

  • Address: 108 Carroll Ave.,
    DeKalb, IL 60115
  • Website:
  • Phone: 815-753-1276
  • Email:
  • Twitter: Illinois ASBO

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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