Ralph Grimm dedicated his career to working with students and helping them succeed, investing his time and energy in numerous educational roles over a period of nearly 33 years. His journey began at Illinois State, where he completed a general business education degree and later a master’s degree in educational administration. He also earned a certificate of advanced study from Western Illinois University.
Grimm worked through the years as a teacher, coach, athletic director, dean of students, and principal before accepting his first superintendent position at Carthage. He went on to serve in the same role in Canton before becoming superintendent of West Central Unit School District 235 in Biggsville.
While there, Grimm was honored as a Superintendent of Distinction by the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA) Western Region. He was one of only 20 superintendents from across the state to receive recognition from then Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. The award recognized Grimm’s efforts for the district, which included implementing a fiber network for all schools to expand resources and teaching techniques.
He also built a cash reserve of nearly $6 million, worked to have a water line installed to improve water quality in the schools, and partnered with a student group to secure a bypass from Route 34 to create a safer traffic situation.
Throughout his career, Grimm has been instrumental in legislative initiatives related to education policy. He served as the acting chief education officer for the Illinois State Board of Education and worked on Illinois Vision 20/20 project. The initiative by school administrators and boards resulted in a long-range blueprint for improving public education funding in Illinois.
Grimm was chosen to serve as superintendent of the Galesburg School District in 2015, which he helped heal after a divisive teachers’ strike. He focused on creating a vision plan and dealing with dwindling state funding. He retired from that position in 2017 and is now a field services director with the IASA. The premier advocacy organization for school administrators in Illinois, IASA is driven by the vision of maximum educational success for all students.