As students at Waterbury Elementary School in Roselle complete their first week of classes, new Principal Dan Stockhausen said the year is starting on a good note.
"The focus is really that we are working together and working smarter, not harder," Stockhausen said. "We are always looking to have positive interactions with colleagues, students, parents and the community."
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District officials named Stockhausen to the post earlier this summer, after a controversial decision to remove Beth Carow as principal. Carow was then reassigned to an administrator post at Spring Wood Middle School in Hanover Park.
School board members would not reveal the reasons for Carow's reassignment, citing confidentiality in personnel matters. Dozens of parents protested the decision at emotionally-charged board meetings this spring.
Although many parents initially called for Carow to be reinstated, Stockhausen said the Waterbury community has been welcoming since his arrival in July.
"We've had a very positive start to the year," he said.
Stockhausen has served 11 years in education, starting as a special-education teacher. For the past four years, Stockhausen was assistant principal in Villa Park Elementary District 45. He first held the post at Ardmore School and, last year, was assistant principal at both Ardmore and Westmore schools.
Stockhausen holds a bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University, a master's degree from Concordia University and is pursuing his doctorate at Aurora University.
"With that change in standards, there is a higher level we need to explore with students," Stockhausen said. "The information is much more skill-based, there's a focus on depth rather than breadth."
District 20 board of education President Tim McHugh said Stockhausen was the overwhelming choice of several focus groups made up of staff, parents and others that were part of the hiring process.
"He was very charismatic, has a great technology background and a great attitude," McHugh said. "And after serving as assistant principal for two schools, we know he's been tested by fire."
Stockhausen said he has a "hands-on and open-door" approach that he hopes will give staff the resources they need.
"I need to make sure the staff are supported to do their job," he said. "They are experts in their field. I need to make sure they have the tools they need to do their best. The way I can judge that is to spend time in the classrooms."