The sky is the limit at Peoria Public Schools 

By Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat
a young girl reaching for the stars


Illustration of a one room log school house
The school house of 1821

While Peoria’s public school district was officially founded in 1855, the accompanying illustration dates back to 1821. Fast forward to 2022 and Peoria Public Schools is one of the city’s top four employers, serving some 13,000 students and their families across 27 spacious buildings.

Our alumni span the world, making their mark in the medical field, politics, education, sports, and even outer space. We are teaching the leaders of tomorrow and I could not be more excited for the year to come.  

I’m sure I’m not alone in the sentiment that the last two years have been a whirlwind. Now, as we (hopefully) transition out of full-scale pandemic mode, I am in constant awe of the resilience of our community. 

As an educator, I am extremely aware of all the moving parts necessary to provide our students with the quality education they deserve. I’m proud to say that in the face of hardship, Peoria Public Schools not only adapted but got stronger. We leaned on each other, thought outside of the box, and collectively focused on what ties us all together – our commitment to our students. 

It is through our collective commitment that we continue to implement our strategic plan. At this time last year, I reflected on the district’s vision: A reimagined education that ignites passion and empowers students to be responsible and successful. Today, I want to share what our reimagined education actually looks like. Our students are increasingly dynamic, innovative, and courageous. Re-imagining education means tailoring their schooling to how they learn and grow today. 

No matter who you are or where you are from, your passions can be ignited at Peoria Public Schools. Here’s how: 

  • Have a natural talent for sports? Train at state-of-the-art facilities in our newly updated Peoria Stadium. 
  • Want to learn English while engaging with a culturally responsive curriculum? Enroll in a dual-language immersion program as early as pre-K. 
  • Want to compete on a national level? Join our nationally ranked SkillsUSA Culinary team or our nationally ranked ROTC program. 
  • Ready to jump into higher education? Graduate high school with an associate degree through our D2 program.  
  • Need to balance school and your personal life? Create your own schedule using our virtual academy and/or our hybrid schedule. 
  • Struggling to pursue education after interacting with the justice system? Lean on support from a certified justice advocate through our one-shop Wraparound Center. 
  • Want to secure full-time employment after graduating? Become an intern through the Education for Life (E4L) program with Caterpillar Inc. and many other opportunities and partners. 
  • Want to broaden your horizons with a globalized and competitive diploma? Enroll in the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program. 

The possibilities are truly endless and would not be possible without the unwavering support of our community. Our selfless board members lead the way, volunteering their time to promote and uphold a standard of excellence for our students and families. Caterpillar Inc. also provides numerous internships and opportunities for PPS students every year. More than 150 additional community partners also invest in our students’ future.   

Our community’s commitment to our students is what leads our youth to not only grow in Peoria but reinvest in the city’s growth. Countless teachers, principals and administrators are former PPS students. Beyond our city’s borders, our alumni are trailblazers in their fields.   

For this reason, we are launching the Peoria Public Schools’ Hall of Achievement. Nominated alumni from Manual High, Peoria High, Richwoods High and the former Woodruff High will be recognized for their accomplishments and investments to communities on the local, national, and international levels. Alumni meeting the following requirements are eligible for nomination: 

  • The recipient must have graduated from Peoria Public Schools. (Posthumous nominations also will be accepted.) 
  • The recipient must have been recognized for a high level of achievement, success, or impact and made significant contributions at the local, state, national and/or international levels. 

At Peoria Public Schools, we offer our students the pathways to not only discover who they are but to excel wherever they go. I am so proud of my students, staff and community, and I am excited for yet another, remarkable year. Feel free to follow up with me at

Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat
Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Ed.D, is superintendent of Peoria Public Schools.