***Schwarz story courtesy of IHSA***
During its meeting on January 10, 2024, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors approved the hiring of Chris Schwarz (right) as the IHSA’s next Assistant Executive Director. The current principal at United High School in Monmouth, Schwarz will fill the void created by the forthcoming retirement of IHSA Associate Executive Director Kurt Gibson on July 1.
“Chris Schwarz exudes leadership and service in every aspect of his life, and we are excited to be able to welcome him to the IHSA staff,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “His background as a high school student-athlete, teacher, coach, and administrator in Illinois made him an ideal candidate, and we look forward to working with him to see how his talents and passion can best serve the IHSA membership.”
Schwarz’s exact responsibilities will be determined closer to his start date at the IHSA, which is slated for early July. He will become the 37th individual in the IHSA’s history to hold the title of Assistant Executive Director on the Association’s administrative staff.
“I have always firmly believed that students’ lives are enriched through extracurricular activities, so it’s difficult to put into words what it means to me to join the IHSA administrative team,” said Schwarz. “Throughout my career I have strived to serve others and be a positive light in peoples’ lives. This opportunity with the IHSA will allow me to positively affect the lives of so many individuals throughout the state and help them create lifelong memories.”
Schwarz joined United School District #304 as the principal of United Junior High in 2017 and then ascended to his current position as high school principal in 2020. He was appointed to serve as the Superintendent of District #304 beginning with the 2024-25 school year.
“I’m leaving an incredible group of people at the United School District,” said Schwarz. “The Monmouth area has been our home since my wife and I met at Monmouth College. The numerous personal and professional friendships we have developed have deeply enriched our lives, so Monmouth will always hold a special place in our hearts. This opportunity with the IHSA was never part of my professional or personal plan, but my family is excited to start a new chapter in our lives.”
Schwarz’s tenure in United School District #304 coincided with the development of several new programs and initiatives that positively impacted students and teachers. That included the implementation of a high school advisory period that reduced semester failures by nearly 50 percent and a Kindness Club that created volunteer opportunities in the community. He also oversaw renovations of the junior high media center and weight room, while implementing a sports broadcasting program there. Schwarz served as the high school baseball coach at Monmouth-Roseville from 2011-2014 and went on to create and coach bass fishing programs at United’s junior high and high school levels. He was named the IPA Middle School Principal of the Year for the Western Region 2020-2021.
“Chris embodies the IHSA mission,” said Anderson. “The impact that his own high school experience had in shaping the person he is today is abundantly clear. The formation of the bass fishing program at United High School is just one example of how he continues to pay that forward.”
Schwarz is a 2005 graduate of Moline High School, where he participated in football and baseball. An all-conference pitcher, he helped the Maroons to an IHSA Super-Sectional appearance as a senior in 2005.
“My high school experiences really laid the foundation for my career and current passions,” said Schwarz. “The baseball and football programs at Moline High School fostered my love for fitness, competition, leadership, and coaching. I was extremely fortunate to be surrounded by great coaches and positive influences that invested their time and energy into my development as a student-athlete.”
After high school, he continued his baseball career at Monmouth College, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 2009. He completed his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at Western Illinois University (WIU) in 2014, and then returned to WIU to obtain his Superintendent Licensure in 2021. Schwarz is currently in the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program at WIU.
“I believe that relationships are paramount to the success of any organization,” said Schwarz. “As an Assistant Executive Director, I’m looking forward to developing relationships with our member schools and upholding the strong tradition of service that the IHSA is known for. The opportunity to work within an administrative team is also something I’m really excited about. Throughout the interview process, I have been extremely impressed by the intentionality and passion of the IHSA staff.”
Schwarz began his career in education as a science teacher at La Harpe Junior High School in 2011, before accepting the Assistant Principal position at Notre Dame in Burlington, Iowa, a position he held until joining United in 2017. Schwarz has been active at his collegiate alma mater and in the local community, in addition to being a frequent speaker and presenter at various educational events. He returned to the Monmouth College baseball program as its pitching coach in 2016 and 2017 and currently sits on the College’s Alumni Board. He also serves on the board of the Warren County YMCA and previously held a seat on the Monmouth Citizens Advisory Committee.
Chris’ wife Breanna serves as a counselor at Monmouth-Roseville High School, and they have two children, Stanton (5) and Stella (2).
Speaking on the WRAM Morning Show this morning, United School District Superintendent Jeff Whitsitt spoke on the resignation of Schwarz.
In other big news from the school board meeting at United High School, the school board excepted the resignation of head varsity football coach David Milroy. Superintendent Whitsitt also commented on that resignation: