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Dr. Rick DuFour

Dr. Rick DuFour headshot
Principal (1983-1991) and Superintendent (1991-2002)

During his Stevenson career, the school earned a reputation as one of America’s best high schools, and was named “the most recognized and celebrated high school in the United States in the 1990s” by the U.S. Dept. of Education. Under DuFour’s leadership, Stevenson became the first public high school in Illinois to receive four Blue Ribbon Awards for Excellence from the U.S. Dept. of Education (in 1987, 1991, 1998 and 2002).

Stevenson received the New American High Schools Award from the Dept. of Education in 1998, and in the same year was named the initial recipient of the Illinois State Board of Education’s Excellence Award for Learning Communities.  During his tenure, Stevenson was cited as one of the country’s leading high schools by several national publications.

DuFour was the first high school principal in Illinois selected by the State Board of Education for its Distinguished Educator Award in 1988. He received the state’s “Excellence Award” for achievement as a superintendent in 1996, and its “Break the Mold Award” for innovation in 1999.

Frank Mattucci, longtime Stevenson girls basketball coach and Stevenson hall of fame inductee, shared that “no other individual did more to promote Stevenson athletics than this leader and advocate of all sports.  Dr. DuFour was the key administrator who spearheaded the rise of SHS as the best high school in Illinois and in the nation.” During DuFour’s time as superintendent, Stevenson won its first Illinois High School Association Team Championship in girls basketball in 1995 and 1996.  Girls gymnastics would go on to win four consecutive IHSA titles in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004.  He was instrumental in adopting both boys ice hockey, fencing, and girls field hockey as recognized sports, despite the fact that they were not sanctioned by the IHSA, which was and still is the practice of most Illinois high schools.

DuFour was also named as one of the Top 100 School Administrators in North America by Executive Educator magazine, and in 2004 received the National Staff Development Council’s Distinguished Service Award. He received Stevenson’s highest honor, the Heritage Award, in 2008.