Mike Gardner, IHSA Board Member
Dr. Michael Gardner, principal of Lincoln-Way North High School in Frankfort, was appointed to the IHSA Board of Directors in 2009 to represent Division 3. Prior to that, he served on the IHSA Legislative Commission.
Gardner began his educational career as a biology teacher at Lincoln-Way Community High school in New Lenox in 1975. He became a dean at the East Campus (now known as Lincoln-Way East) in 1977 and Assistant Principal in 1986. In 1992, he was named Associate Principal at East. He assumed the role of principal in 1995 and oversaw the school’s conversion from a grade 9-10 building to a grade 9-12 building in 2001.
That same school year, East’s softball team won the state title – despite having no seniors on the team. Its football team won the Class 8A Football State Championship in 2005. In 2006, the Lincoln-Way boys coop gymnastics team won the IHSA state championship.
Seven years after overseeing Lincoln-Way East’s conversion to a four year high school, Gardner was tapped to open another Lincoln-Way school – Lincoln-Way North High School in Frankfort. The school opened in the fall of 2008.
During his 35 years in education, Gardner has served on a number of professional committees, including the School and Community Self-Study Committee for the North Central Association Evaluation, the Metro Conference Organizational Committee for the Illinois Principals Association and the Student Recognition Sub-Committee of the Effective School Committee.
He received numerous honors through the years, including Outstanding Principal of the Year award from the Illinois Music Education Association (IMEA) in 2006 and the Making the Difference Award from the South Suburban Affiliate of the Illinois Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (SSIASCD) in 2008.
Early in his educational career, Gardner coached the New Lenox Boys Baseball Association (1988-1995) and the New Lenox Girls Fast Pitch Softball team (1989-1993). He also served as the Assistant Coach to the New Lenox Mustangs Pop Warner Football Program (1991-1992) and the Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210 football program (1975-1986).
He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Illinois State University in 1975, his master’s in educational administration from Northern Illinois University in 1979 and his Ed.D. in educational administration from Northern Illinois University in 1994.