MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — A local school superintendent laid out the “state of schools” in his district Wednesday.

It was all part of a series held by the Parks Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Terrell Yarbrough is in his second year as superintendent of Harlem Consolidated School District 112. He said that he cried when he got the role because it is hard to believe, being from the inner city of Milwaukee.

That is why he has dedicated his career to helping students realize their unlimited potential, and he addressed a crowd about it Wednesday night.

“This was actually our 10th event, as part of the Parks Chamber Legislative Event Series,” said Tonya Lamia, executive director of the Parks Chamber of Commerce.

Lamia said that, since February, they have given local leaders a platform to address the community.

“Tonight, getting to the state of the schools from Dr. Yarbrough is really exciting because it gave us a chance to hear directly from him the priorities of the school district, the future investments they are looking to make, but also the recent challenges and some of the successes that they’ve had,” Lamia said.

Yarbrough wants to increase graduation rates and student enrollment. The district is also plagued with a staffing shortage, but Yarbrough thinks that the lack of staff has forced them to really fig into the system.

“Last year the shortages was a bad thing, but I was able to be a bus assistant, I was able to be on the food truck, I was able to sub a kindergarten classroom, and I wouldn’t have been able to have that impact if I was in a different role,” Yarbrough said.

All in all, the superintendent said that students are more engaged and excited to be in school again after experiencing a pandemic.

“I sincerely believe that it takes a village to create a district that everyone can be proud of, because I am Harlem, you are Harlem, we are Harlem, thank you everybody,” Yarbrough said.

Yarbrough also revealed that the plans of an expansion in the next three years. He said that an onsite healthcare clinic available to students and staff is in the works.