Dr. Ray Lauk has been a school district superintendent for most of 1993-2014 serving children in large high-poverty suburban Chicago school districts with significant second language populations, small rural downstate Illinois districts, and an overseas international school in Brazil. Lauk also has a brief experience as an interim administrator in a charter school in the Chicago Public Schools. Lauk has consistently raised student achievement and closed the achievement gap by focusing attention and resources to the improvement of instruction. An expert in school finance, Lauk has been an adjunct school finance professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2010. He is currently the Business Manager of the Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview School District 89 in Melrose Park, IL.
Lauk’s background also includes experiences as a speaker on school and organizational culture, school security, and securing community support for district initiatives. As the author of FUEL for Learning, Lauk has spoken to state school boards associations and school districts about creating school cultures that are focused on raising student achievement and creating positive, healthy employee workplaces. GE Security (a General Electric Company) tapped Lauk’s experience in school leadership when he was the GE Education Solutions Manager from 2006-2009. Lauk worked with large school district leaders across the United States to raise student achievement by ensuring safe and secure learning environments.
Lauk has been transitioning from school leadership to being an entrepreneur. In 2014, he created Dr. Ray’s Toffee, LLC, a gourmet toffee candy business that was built on his 36 years of toffeemaking. His toffee is available at gourmet stores in the Chicago area and online at www.drraystoffee.com.
Dr. Lauk holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration, an MBA, and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education—all from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His Bachelor’s Degree in Education is from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Dr. Lauk has been a speaker and presenter for the Beecher School District, River Forest School District 90, Western Avenue School in Flossmoor, IL, GE, McGraw-Hill Publishers, AT&T, HSBC Bank, National School Boards Association, Illinois State University, Illinois Association of School Boards, American Association of School Administrators, Illinois Association of School Administrators, Association of American Schools in South America, and other business and educational groups. He has taught and spoken to groups in the United States, Brazil, Thailand, and Spain. Fast Company Magazine named Ray to the 2005 Fast 50 Award for working with his community to re-invent education in the Lyons Elementary School District 103.
Ray has studied Improv Comedy, Acting, and Writing at the Second City Theater in Chicago, and he has performed stand-up comedy at “Open Mics” in Chicago, Washington, DC, Tampa, Bangkok, and Rio de Janeiro. He co-wrote, produced, and performed in “NonTextual Relations,” a sketch comedy show at Donny’s Skybox Theater at Second City. Lauk is bilingual in Portuguese and travels regularly to Brazil. A marathon runner, Lauk is running his seventh Chicago Marathon in October, 2017.