James Colyott, EdS, is the lead for the Illinois project on teacher recruitment, retention, and recognition for the Region 9 Comprehensive Center. Previously, he led the Midwest Comprehensive Center’s Iowa Equity Review project, collaborating with the Iowa Department of Education (IDE) on its efforts to eliminate achievement and opportunity gaps among students. This work included a comprehensive document review, creation of interview protocols, and on-site interviews of IDE staff and Iowa stakeholders that resulted in a summative report and presentation of findings on equity gaps.
As a technical assistance consultant through the district and school improvement team at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Colyott provided weekly leadership coaching to superintendents and principals in Illinois schools in the Chicago area. Through this support, school leadership teams analyzed student performance data, completed root cause analysis sessions, developed and monitored school improvement plans, and used effective meeting practices.
Colyott previously served as a district liaison with the AIR-operated Illinois Center for School Improvement for 3 years, leading multiple district leadership teams in the Chicago area. Colyott facilitated their district improvement processes by leading a comprehensive needs assessment that used co-interpretationSM and root cause data analysis sessions, created a district improvement plan, coached leadership teams, enhanced the capacity and effectiveness of the professional learning communities, and helped analyze disproportionality in student discipline.
Before joining AIR, Colyott had more than 20 years of experience in Illinois public schools, serving 7 years as a district superintendent and 6 years as a building principal. Through intensive district improvement planning and a clear focus on financial resource allocations and transparency, he led a small rural high school to the top 6% of all Illinois high schools in overall academic achievement. He also led a large urban high school to the top 500 high schools in the United States in college and career readiness. Colyott holds an educational specialist degree from Western Illinois University.