The Round Table of Northern Illinois was begun in 1891 under the initiation of O.T. Bright, Cook County Superintendent of Schools.  He had monthly teachers’ meetings on Saturday mornings at Fullerton Hall of the Art Institute.  After the meetings, at noon, the superintendents would gather at the Tip Top Inn across the street.  John Dewey often attended the meetings.


In the early 1900s, the group formalized itself as the Cook County Superintendents’ Club.  During the World War I era from 1914 to 1918, there was a limit of 50 superintendents and membership was by invitation only.  Later the group reunited with other counties as the Superintendents’ Round Table of Northern Illinois, and the membership limit increased to 100.  In 1935-1936, the membership was 106.  Growth increased to 145 in 1947 and exceeded 200 in 1951.  By 1965 it grew to 290 members, and in 1983, the membership was 370.


Locations for the Round Table meeting place has changed over the years.  This includes the following:

1910 – 1912: Tip Top Inn (across from the Art Institute)
1913 – 1925: Marshall Field’s and Company (State Street)
1926 – 1934: Chicago City Club
1934 – 1947: Mandel’s Ivory Room and Tea Room
1948 – 1953: Chicago Bar Association Dining Room (11th Floor of the Equitable Life Building)
1954 – 1968: Stouffer’s, Second Floor, Red Room, 24 West Madison
1968 – 1980: Stouffer’s, Ninth Floor, Oak Brook
1980 – 2012: The Carlisle, Lombard
2012 – Present: Westin Hotel, Lombard

Throughout more than fifty years until the 1960s, the Round Table meeting was usually held on Saturday.  Many of the superintendents, from as far away as Champaign and Rockford, would come in on the early train.  Often spouses would join them for downtown shopping.  In the late 1960s, this pattern changed.  In 1968, five meetings were held on Thursdays at Stouffer’s in Oak Brook and three meetings were held on Saturdays at the downtown Stouffer’s.  By 1969, all of the meetings were held on Thursdays at Stouffer’s, Oak Brook, and now the meetings are held at the Westin Hotel, in Lombard.

Research Committee and Study Group

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, many research studies of the Round Table Study Club were led and coordinated by the University of Chicago professors such as William Reavis, Charles Hubbard Judd, and Newton Edwards.  Research and studies were always vital part of the Round Table.  One of the extensive studies conducted in 1943 by the Research Committee (Ev Kerr, Chairman) was on the question of the cut-off age for entrance into first grade.  In the following year, 1944, textbook rental fees were studied.

The Research Committee of the Round Table in the mid 1950s was replaced with the Study Club, and three officers were elected to conduct the research and Study Club aspects of the organization.  During the mid 1950s, the Legislative Committee was very active with both the Governor and the State Legislature.  The Committee met with Governor Stratton to explain the Round Table’s Legislative program.  For more than 25 years, the Study Club met from 10 a.m. before the noon Round Table meeting.  Sometimes the Study Club met at a downtown location, the YMCA Downtown Office, Chicago, in the mid 1950s and at DePaul University, Chicago, in the mid 1960s.

The research studies took a new form in the 1970s and 1980s when Paul Schilling did a 1975-1976 fiscal study and a comparative study of staffing patterns.  Ray Garritano repeated the staffing patterns in 1978-1979 and again in 1981-1982.  In 1982, the Round Table assumed the sponsorship of the Frank Endicott salary study with Ray Garritano conducting the study.  A computer study was also initiated in 1982 and repeated in 1983 by Betty Hansen.


The first rotation of officers was in 1941-1942 when 1940-1941 Vice President Carl E. Larson moved up to President.  The first officer to ascend the officer positions was Harold Metcalf, Bloom High School in Chicago Heights.  He was Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President and President in the respective years of 1951-1954.

From the membership of the Round Table came two American Association of School Administrator (AASA) national presidents: Paul Misner of Glencoe and Paul Jung of Des Plaines.

Women were first admitted as members in the 1971-1972 school year under the presidency of Henry Hoppe.  Joining were Elise Johnson, Carol Stream, who was the 1980-1981 president of the Round Table; Rosemary Lucas, Worth, who was 1983-1984 Vice President of the Study Club, and Rosalie Hayden, Assistant Superintendent in Palos Park.

The Round Table calendar of meetings has usually avoided September and concluded the year with a May meeting.  Eight meetings a year was the rule until 1977-1978 when the number was reduced to six meetings.  Currently there are four meetings in a school year.


The three officers of the Round Table and the three officers of the Study Club were consolidated into five officers of the Round Table in 1985-1986 (President, Vice President of the Round Table, Vice President of the Study Club, Secretary/Treasurer, and Membership.)  The most time comsuming position has consistently been the Secretary/Treasurer Officer.  (Of course, it is that superintendent’s administrative assistant who does all the work.)

Attendance at the Round Table meetings has averaged above 200 in the 1980s and 1990s.  Membership has been in the 350-400 range.  The May meeting of each year honored the retirees of that year.  In the early 1990s, this was often more then 20 superintendents.  Paul June was speaker at four retirees’ luncheons.  All Illinois Governors in the past 30 years have spoken to the Round Table.  Nearly all Chicago superintendents in the past 50 years have addressed the group.

Ten women have been Presidents of the Round Table: Elsie Johnson, Carol Stream; Elise Grimes, LaGrange; Sandra Lynne Schmutzler, Matteson; Pam Witt, Frankfort; Rosemarie Carroll, Palos Park; Kathryn Robbins, Franklin Park; Kelley Kalinich, Kenilworth; and Renee Goier, Deerfield; Connie Collins, Forest Park; and Kathy Countryman, Forest Park.

The nominating committee for decades was an independent committee appointed by the President.  For many years, it consisted of three former Round Table presidents, approved by the current President.  The nominating committee attempts to have the five officers be geographically represented and also to be from all three types of districts—elementary, high school, and unit.

Past Presidents

1919-1920: J. R. Harper – Wilmette
1920-1922: F. W. Nichols – South Evanston
1922-1924: F. T. Goodier – Chicago Heights
1924-1926: J. C. Davies – LaGrange
1926-1928: W. J. Hamilton – Oak Park
1928-1929: J. R. Skiles – Evanston
1929-1930: E. N. Cassady – Brookfield
1930-1931: D. E. Walker – Evanston
1931-1932: F. A. Jensen – Rockford
1932-1933: A. F. Cook – Hinsdale
1933-1934: J. S. Clark – Waukegan
1934-1935: G. E. Thopson – St. Charles
1935-1936: H. M. Cooltrap – Geneva
1936-1937: E. L. Nygaard – Kenilworth
1937-1938: V. L. Beggs – Elmhurst
1938-1939: Ben Sylla – Chicago Heights
1939-1940: W. J. Cohahan – Woodstock
1940-1941: R. H. Price – Highland Park
1941-1942: Carl E. Larson – Aurora
1942-1943: L. F. Hauser – Riverside
1943-1944: C. R. Williams – Waterman
1944-1945: R. A. Lease – Sycamore
1945-1946: G. N. Hufford – Joliet
1946-1947: John B. Nelson – Batavia
1947-1948: K. K. Tibbetts – Wheaton
1948-1949: F. C. Thomas – Barrington
1949-1950: Everett Kerr – Homewood
1950-1951: Willard Jackman – Elmhurst
1951-1952: Ralph Clabaugh – Arlington Heights
1952-1953: Orrin Thompson – Elgin
1953-1954: Harold Metcalf – Chicago Heights
1954-1955: Blair Plimpton – Park Ridge
1955-1956: James Moon – Western Springs
1956-1957: ?
1957-1958: Lee Morris – Harvey
1958-1959: Ken Preston – Berwyn
1959-1960: Leroy Knoeppel – Maywood
1960-1961: ?
1961-1962: Jim Hannum – Oak Lawn
1962-1963: Darrell Blodgett – Wheaton
1963-1964: H. L. Slichenmeyer – Arlington Heights
1964-1965: Elmer Schultz – Homewood
1965-1966: Arthur Muns – DeKalb
1966-1967: Earl Wiltse – Maine Township
1967-1968: Maurice Clark – Western Springs
1968-1969: Clim Loew – Elmwood Park
1969-1970: Wesley Gibbs – Niles

1970-1971: Edward Gilbert – Arlington Heights
1971-1972: Henry Hoppe – Palos Heights
1972-1973: Marvin Garlich – Lincolnwood
1973-1974: David Byrne – Franklin Park
1974-1975: Douglas McGuga – Oak Lawn
1975-1976: Carl Forrester – Roselle
1976-1977: Paul Schilling – LaGrange
1977-1978: Oliver McCracker – Skokie
1978-1979: Martin Zuckerman – Wauconda
1979-1980: Alfred Price – Avoca
1980-1981: Elsie Johnson – Carol Stream
1981-1982: Roger Kampschroer – Norridge
1982-1983: Raymond Garritano – Mokena
1983-1984: Howard Smucker – Lisle
1984-1985: Richard Henneghan – Moline
1985-1986: Paul Jung – Des Plaines
1986-1987: William “Bill” Attea – Glenview
1987-1988: Don Johnson – Franklin Park
1988-1989: David Cox – Zion
1989-1990: William Smith – Alsip
1990-1991: Jim Clark – Naperville
1991-1992: Elise Grimes – LaGrange
1992-1993: Karl Plank – Blue Island
1993-1994: Steve Berry – Arlington Heights
1994-1995: Alex Martino – New Lenox
1995-1996: Doug Parks – Buffalo Grove
1996-1997: Larry Weck – Addison
1997-1998: John Jacobson – Peru
1998-1999: Sandra Lynne Schmutzler – Matteson
1999-2000: Pamela Witt – Frankfort
2000-2001: Don Weber – Naperville
2001-2002: Arthur T. Newbrough – Mundelein
2002-2003: Roger Miller – Hinsdale
2003-2004: Jim Doolin – Rochelle
2004-2005: Rosemarie Carroll – Palos Park
2005-2006: Joseph Majchrowicz – Lansing
2006-2007: David Clough – Libertyville
2007-2008: Kathryn Robbins – Franklin Park
2008-2009: Kelley Kalinich – Kenilworth
2009-2010: Steve Humphrey – Addison
2010-2011: Troy Paraday – Calumet City
2011-2012: Renee Goier – Deerfield
2012-2013: Connie Collins – Forest Park
2013-2014: Kathy Countryman – Sycamore
2014-2015: Lou Cavallo – Forest Park
2015-2016: Tom Livingston – Atwood Heights
2016-2017: Dave Larson – Glenbard
2017-2018: Maura Zinni – Frankfort
2018-2019: Jean Sophie – Lake Bluff