A Message From IVS Director, Kip Pygman

We, at Illinois Virtual School, are beyond excited to begin another school year. However, for me, my excitement is even more profound because of the opportunity to serve as the next director. From the moment I began the interview process to the present, it is has been evident clearly to me what a special place IVS is.

Our entire team shares a profound and contagious passion toward online learning including an innate desire to serve all of our partners with a quality virtual learning experience. As I near the completion of my first month, I find myself reflecting over an observation I recently experienced which represents the inner workings of our program.

Last Saturday I was loading my groceries into the trunk, and I couldn’t help but observe a common action many of us are probably guilty of…..A man across the crowded parking lot had also finished loading the groceries in his car. Based on his facial expressions and pace, he appeared to be in a hurry. As he sat down in his vehicle, a few pennies had fallen out of his left pant pocket. (I observed him pause briefly and decide whether or not he should exit the car to gather the dropped pennies). He started to reach for one but realized the other rolled underneath a nearby car. He made a decision to leave the pennies and drive away.

I suspect we have all been guilty of this at one point in time. However, the act of leaving  pennies on the ground represents a larger symbolic presence. This presence is where my reflection originates.

John Wooden was once quoted as saying:

“It’s the little things that are vital. Little things make big things happen”.

My observations during the first 25 days at IVS have shown me the exemplary attention our team places on the little things. In order to ensure we provide our students with an authentic, engaging, and rigorous learning experience, we have to grab every penny off the ground including those that roll in uncomfortable places. Each detail, no matter how small, warrants an intentional focus because this is what our students deserve.

Each IVS student matters, all our students count, and every student may exceed learning expectations. Our IVS team has a shared bond toward these powerful beliefs and equally important, strives to model them through their daily actions.

The promise of this upcoming school year for students is vast and filled with tremendous opportunity. My pledge to you is we will continue to advocate for all of our students no matter how big or small the details are. This is what our team has demonstrated to me and this is what we will continue to uphold.

We look forward to continuing working alongside all of our partners, students, and families. Together, we will pursue the positive difference we all aspire to achieve for our learners.

So the next time you drop that penny on the ground, consider taking the time to pick it up. No corners may be cut. No detail related to the education of our students deserves to be left unattended. Let us share in the virtual journey together picking up each penny along our path.

Thank you to our IVS Team for showing me the “IVS Way”.

-Kip Pygman, IVS Director


IVS is Proud to Introduce Our New Director, Kip Pygman!

As most of you are aware; IVS’ longtime Director, Cindy Hamblin, retired at the end of June. With that, the Peoria Regional Office of Education has replaced her with an exceptional individual who shined through a field of outstanding candidates. Please welcome Kip Pygman as the new Director of Illinois Virtual School.

Kip spent the first ten years of his professional career at Leyden High Schools, starting as a business instructor and serving in other leadership roles including an online learning coordinator and response to intervention director. Most recently, Kip was the inaugural director of the Expanding Learning Opportunities Consortium (eLo), where for four years he led an online learning consortium comprised of three Illinois school districts spanning seven high schools. Kip currently sits on the Board of Directors as the Vice-Chair for Walther Christian Academy and is a member of the Illinois PK-12 Digital Learning Advisory Council. Kip holds a Master of Educational Leadership from Concordia University and a Master of Educational Technology from Boise State University.

A message from Kip:

“What is the first action most people take when they sit down to dine? After engaging in a few minutes of small chat, most reach for the menu and explore the options.

  • How hungry am I today?
  • Do I feel like fish, meat, pasta, or poultry?
  • Does the menu have choices that meet my dietary restrictions?

We often gauge our dining experience by customer service but also by the diversity of the menu—assuming the quality of your meal meets your expectation. If you dine at a restaurant with limited options, you might become dissatisfied with your experience. On the other hand, when you explore a menu with a variety of options, your tablemates and you often comment on how impressed you are with that menu because it accommodates immediately your particular need or want.

Students today have an amazing variety in their on-campus learning menu, whether honors or advanced placement, career and elective, dual-credit courses, internships, etc. We, at IVS, are thrilled to help our partners expand and supplement their learning menu for students. By broadening further the variety inside the menus, such as online choices, we are empowering more students to make educational decisions that meet their needs with where they exist at a definitive point in time.

I get chills imagining the world of possibility for students when they are presented with such a vast array of educational choices. We look forward to continuing working alongside all of our partners, students, and families by providing them with these virtual learning opportunities. Together, we will pursue the positive difference we all aspire to achieve for our learners.”

Illinois Virtual School is honored to have such a distinguished online learning professional join our team and we look forward to working with Mr. Pygman to continue providing an exceptional online learning opportunity to students from throughout the State of Illinois.

IVS Director, Cindy Hamblin, is Retiring.

Today is a bittersweet day for Illinois Virtual School, as we say goodbye to our Director, Cindy Hamblin, who is retiring.

Cindy graduated from Southern Illinois University and began her career as a teacher at Jacksonville High School. She then moved on to the Egyptian Educational Service Center in Marion, Il, where she was the Technology Director. Later, Cindy relocated to Central Illinois when she took the Technology Director position at the Mid-Illini Service Center, in Pekin.

In 1995, Cindy started working at Two Rivers Professional Development Center, through the Peoria Regional Office of Education, as the Technology Director for three Central Illinois Counties, while earning her Master’s Degree from Western Illinois University. After five years at Two Rivers, Cindy took the role of Director for the Area III Tech Learning Center, which expanded her service area to twenty counties.

In 2009 the Illinois Virtual High School become Illinois Virtual School and the Peoria Regional Office of Education was awarded the opportunity to manage the program. Cindy was hired as Illinois Virtual School’s first director.

For the past nine years, Cindy has worked tirelessly to provide learning opportunities for thousands of public, private, and home school students throughout the State of Illinois. Under Cindy’s leadership, IVS has expanded to include: professional development opportunities for educators, a credit recovery program for high school students, and middle school curriculum.

After 35 years in education, Cindy has decided it might be time to relax! Cindy’s legacy at Illinois Virtual School will not long be forgotten, though, as she has instilled her values in all of our faculty and staff. We will continue to provide the best possible education and service to all students from throughout the State of Illinois.

On behalf of the Peoria Regional Office of Education, the IVS faculty, and the thousands of students that have succeeded under your supervision, The Illinois Virtual School Administrative Team would like to thank you for your service. We wish you the happiest of retirements!


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