Conversation with Dr. Adrian Talley: Passions & personal insights

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Dr. Adrian Talley is a distinguished leader with over three decades of experience in the field of education. From teaching in the classroom to spearheading large school districts, his journey is an inspiring testament to his commitment to academic excellence and student success.

In July 2020, Dr. Talley took on the role of Superintendent at Indian Prairie School District 204. Prior to his position at District 204, he spent five years as an administrator in PGCPS—a district with over 130,000 students and 208 schools. His vision for equitable education resonated with the diverse student population, bringing positive changes to the school system in the Washington, DC suburbs.

His educational journey began in the classroom, Dr. Talley was the principal of two schools in two districts and taught in both MCPS and Fairfax County Public Schools, Virginia. His hands-on experience has equipped him with a deep understanding of the needs of students and educators.

630 Naperville recently had the privilege of hosting a conversation with the District 204 Superintendent. In this exclusive interview with host Liz Spencer, Dr. Adrian Talley delved into his passions, motivations, and shared personal anecdotes that shed light on the man behind the accomplishments.

Favorite car

The interview began with Liz Spencer warmly welcoming Dr. Adrian Talley, setting the stage for a candid conversation. She began by asking him what his favorite car was and why?

He said his favorite car was also his first, a Volkswagen Rabbit, in his favorite color, yellow. His parents bought it for him (he was the baby of the family), much to the annoyance of his older brothers who might have thought him a little spoilt.

He loved the car “because it could zip in and out and all around, it was a manual transmission – which I love. It was maybe a little bit too speedy or maybe I had a led foot. I don’t know which, but once in a while I’d have to be pulled over.”

What did Dr. Adrian Talley want to be growing up?

Spencer questioned Dr. Talley about his career goals and if he always knew he wanted to be a superintendent.

He replied that he hadn’t always aspired to become a superintendent because he “Didn’t even know there was such a thing.” What he wanted to be was a corporate lawyer. However, when he arrived at college and started classes he realized it wasn’t the right career path for him.

He discovered where his true passions lay when he started tutoring a blind student during his second year of school at the University of Virginia. “I was tutoring her in French, and that’s when I got the bug to become a teacher.” Dr. Talley then went on to receive his Master of Arts degree from Boston College, and a Doctorate degree from George Washington University.

What three people would Dr. Talley invite to dinner, dead or alive?

Spencer asked who might make the guest list if he could invite anyone.“One person would be my mother’s father because I never met him. He died when I was a baby. And it would be great to have a conversation with him to know who he was.”

He continued, “The other was my father’s mother. She died when she when he was a teenager. And I’d like to talk with her about my father as a child.”

The third dinner guest Dr. Talley chose was Alfred Hitchcock. He studied film in college and said he would like to “know a little bit more about his thinking and how he put together his films. I think he would be a very interesting character.”