Dr. Ed Hightower has spent his entire career as an educator and NCAA college basketball referee. In 2015, Dr. Hightower retired as superintendent of the Edwardsville School District 7. In the 19 years he led the district, it grew from 5,000 to 7,500 students and became one of the top districts in the state, with remarkable accomplishments in academics, athletics, and performing arts. Supervising more than $160 million in school construction during bis tenure, Dr. Hightower raised millions of dollars from private sources to build a wrestling center and aquatic center with an Olympic-sized pool as well as funding computer upgrades through the Technology in the 21st Century Classroom Initiative.
His educational honors include: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Alumni Hall of Fame; National Distinguished Principal of the Year; Illinois Principal of the Year Award; and the Illinois Distinguished Principals Award.
Dr. Hightower refereed NCAA Basketball for 36 years, including 12 Final Four Championships. He was awarded the coveted Naismith College Official of the Year Award; represented the United States at the World Championship of Basketball held in South America; represented the United States at the Goodwill Games held in St. Petersburg Russia; inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame; St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame; received the USA Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award; and in 2018 nominated for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Dr. Hightower received his bachelor’s, master’s, and specialist’s degrees from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and his Doctorate in Education Administration from St. Louis University. He currently serves as Vice Chair of the Southern Illinois University System Board of Trustees, St. Louis Zoo Board of Directors, and the Gateway PGA Board of Directors.
Making the right call is nothing more than having the moral courage to do what is right and knowing the work you are doing can’t be performed by just anyone. Dr. Hightower grew up in the Boothills of Southeast Missouri, in a little town of 100 people. He was the second oldest of eight children. At 12 years old, his mother and father divorced. His mom become the family’s anchor, teaching her children the value of hard work, honesty, respect and that their reputation will follow them wherever they go.
Life was tough and school was no fun for Dr. Hightower. His third-grade teacher called him “retarded” and often said “you won’t amount to anything.” However, his fourth-grade teacher instilled in him hope, self-esteem and the will and desire to succeed. Ms. Jackson made him feel like he could conquer the world.
Dr. Hightower’s entire life has been centered around the understanding that a setback is different than failure. Getting knocked down does not mean you have to stay down. He learned to stay in the game for the long haul by doing the things the right way, not taking the shortcuts, and never sacrificing his integrity for a short-term win.
In this program, he will share personal stories and experiences of his 41 years in education, including receiving Illinois National Principal of the Year in 1993. He will also share stories from his 36 years as an NCAA Basketball Referee and his selection to officiate 12 NCAA Final Fours. He will also explain his reason for declining a contract to referee professional basketball. The target audience includes educators, corporate, athletics religious and faith organizations.
Dr. Hightower invested in an insurance policy by inviting Christ into his life and he has not been the same. He promised the Lord he would serve Him and would advocate for the needy.
Dr. Hightower believes dreams without work are just dreams, and they can often fuel disappointment. Nelson Mandela once said, “There is no passion to be found settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” In life and in the workplace, your character will be tested. Attendees of this program will learn how to demonstrate courage, integrity and a spirit of caring.
Dr. Hightower will share personal stories and experiences of his 41 years in education, including receiving Illinois National Principal of the Year in 1993. He will also share stories from his 36 years as an NCAA Basketball Referee and his selection to officiate 12 NCAA Final Fours. He will also explain his reason for declining a contract to referee professional basketball, and discuss his priority and passion of Christ, family and education.
In this program, Dr. Hightower will share how he overcame a major setback for the biggest comeback of his life. In 2004, Dr. Hightower contracted a deadly bacteria “Endocarditis” and was airlifted to the hospital. Without the Mercy of God and proper medical diagnosis, he would have died. He will discuss his faith, power of prayer, and how he recovered, returned to work as superintendent of schools, and refereed the NCAA Basketball Final Four.
The target audience includes educators, corporate, athletics religious and faith organizations.
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DR. ED HIGHTOWER
$2,500 - $5,000
Speaker fee falls within this range. For exact fee, please contact us.