Dr. Janine Gruhn is honored to be the Director of Special Education for District 31. She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and received her Master of Education with a concentration in administration and leadership from Loyola University. In 2016, she earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from National Louis University. In addition, she has endorsements in the areas of director of special education and superintendent on her professional educator’s license.
Dr. Gruhn has over 23 years of experience in the education field. She began her educational career as a special education teacher working with students with moderate and severe disabilities providing community based instruction, functional curriculum, and transition planning. She then continued her career as a teacher for students with physical disabilities. Dr. Gruhn provided accommodations, modifications and assistive technology to enable students to fully participate in general education classrooms. Her love for assistive technology led her to a position as a facilitator for Chicago Public Schools, where she led a department to evaluate students for assistive technology followed by leading a department for students with moderate and severe disabilities. During this time in Chicago Public Schools Dr. Gruhn provided professional development, modeled best instructional practices, developed curriculum, and utilized data to support special education programming. She then had her first administrative position at the Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization (NSSEO), where she served as a special education coordinator. At NSSEO, she facilitated IEP meetings and advocated for all students. In 2005, Dr. Gruhn had a wonderful opportunity to start her career as a Director of Special Education at Waukegan Public Schools, a title she held for 11 years. During this time, she started a Child Find team, met all compliance indicators according to Illinois State Board of Education Standards, and started two alternative programs and a transition program for 18-21 year olds. She has also participated on District leadership teams, MTSS committees, won a Those Who Excel award for her role on the district crisis team and presented nationally on co-teaching, alternative programming, MTSS, PBIS and transition planning. Dr. Gruhn then became Director of Student Services at Lyons School District 103. During this time she started an extended school program where students received special education services during the summer, developed a special education resource guide, had monthly parent collaboration meetings, and implemented Mental Health First Aid training to increase staff awareness about the impact of social emotional concerns on students and educational outcomes.
Dr. Gruhn grew up in Des Plaines where her mother still resides in her childhood home. She now lives in Gurnee with her husband, Ray, and her daughter, Kaylee. Kaylee is starting this year as a freshman at Warren High School. During her free time, Dr. Gruhn enjoys traveling with her family, reading, cooking, and watching her daughter’s volleyball games.
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