Albers Retiring From Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation in August, DeFrates Named Successor

By Benjamin Cox on June 16, 2022 at 1:35pm

Amy Albers reads off a winner from the Believe in Education Drawing at the Downtown Concert on June 3rd.

The Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation will be under new leadership when the new school year starts this Fall. Executive Director Amy Albers has announced her retirement after 12 years. Albers will officially step down on August 10th to transition into self-employment.

Albers says she’s enjoyed everyone and the mission of the Public Schools Foundation during her tenure: “As I’ve told the teachers, the administrators, and the District 117 staff, it has been a work of passion for me that will leave a little piece of my heart behind. They have been so wonderful to work with, and it has been so great to see how they take care of our students and how they want the best for them. It’s been just a joy to be able to help them do that.”

Beginning August 1st, Leslie J. (Smith) DeFrates will become the new Executive Director. Albers says that DeFrates is the right person for the job: “Leslie’s parents were both educators in District 117. She has worked in education her whole life at the collegiate level. She will be wonderful. She’s someone who is taking this job for the right reasons. It’s not for any other reason than she wants to continue the work of the Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation’s Board of Directors. She will be a wonderful addition.”


DeFrates’ experience spans an almost 30-year career as a higher education administrator working in multiple positions at both Lincoln Land Community College and the University of Illinois Springfield. She most recently served as the Associate Vice President at Illinois College where she sat on the President’s Cabinet and oversaw multiple areas of the College, including the President’s Office, facilities management, human resources, public safety, special projects, and was the liaison to the board of trustees. DeFrates has also been a member of the Public Schools Foundation’s Board of Directors since 2019.

The Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation asks that the Jacksonville community honor Albers for her years of service by making a donation to the Needy Student Fund in her honor.

To make a contribution, please send a check for the Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation Needy Student Fund by August 1st to the offices at 211 West State Street in Jacksonville. Please note “Amy Albers” in the memo section of the check.