Oral Histories

Dr. Glenn

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Dr. Glenn "Max" McGee


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Dr. Max McGee served as IMSA’s president from 2007 to 2013. He first learned about IMSA when he was state superintendent of Illinois public schools from 1998 to 2001. While superintendent of the Wilmette School District he was asked to participate in IMSA’s strategic planning process in 2006-07. The mission statement struck a chord for him and when Dr. Stephanie Pace Marshall decided to step down as IMSA’s president, he jumped at the opportunity to step into that role.

As president, Dr. McGee worked to implement the new strategic vision. He saw the opportunity to expand IMSA’s role across the state through outreach efforts. These included summer programming and field offices in East St. Louis, Rock Island, and Chicago. They offered learning opportunities for both students and teachers across the state. In admissions, Dr. McGee sought to diversify the student body and shift focus from test scores to a more holistic approach, recognizing that students at under-resourced schools had great potential but fewer opportunities that prepared them to do well on tests.

Having been state superintendent, Dr. McGee brought a familiarity with state legislators to his work at IMSA. This helped his efforts to advocate for IMSA’s funding. He brought legislators to campus and brought students to Springfield to testify on IMSA’s behalf. Despite the state’s fiscal challenges during these years, IMSA secured budget increases that Dr. McGee credits to the students’ advocacy.

One of the most rewarding aspects of his time at IMSA was seeing students live the mission statement to “ignite and nurture creative, ethical scientific minds that advance the human condition.” He recalls students concerned not only about their academic success, but about their contributions and social impact.

After leaving IMSA, Dr. McGee established the Princeton International School of Math and Science, which was in many ways modeled on IMSA. In 2014 he became superintendent of the school district in Palo Alto, California. He currently works as a consultant in education and he and his wife, Jan Fitzsimmons, founded and continue to support the Center for Success in High Needs Schools.

Interviewer: Sara Goek. Duration: 39:58




administration, admissions, funding, Illinois state politics, outreach, research, students, summer programs


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Copy permitted for study or investigation purposes, citing the source Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. Any other use requires permission. For more information please contact archives@imsa.edu.

Dr. Glenn