Daniel Ophus, assistant principal at Washington Elementary School in Park Ridge-Niles District 64, will become the new principal of Fairview Elementary School in Mount Prospect Aug. 1, when April Jordan leaves to become principal at The Skokie School in Winnetka District 36.
Prior to his current position, Ophus was a math and social studies teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Mount Prospect for six years. Distict 57 Superintendent Elaine Aumiller says Ophus was a valued member of the District 57 team.
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"He was very well respected by students, parents and his colleagues," she says. "I have heard so many positive things from the people who knew him; I'm sure they will be thrilled to hear he is returning to our District." Ophus says there is "a great sense of community" in Mount Prospect and in District 57.
"People really care about each other. I look forward to being part of that again," he says. "District 57 does wonderful things for children. I respect the way they align their priorities, particularly with regard to professional development. It is systematic and meaningful, and the many benefits trickle down to the students." Ophus adds that he enjoys working with elementary school kids.
"They have such an excitement about learning, and it's a joy to watch the enthusiasm on their faces as they learn new things," he says. "Elementary school teachers are laying the framework for years to come." Aumiller says Ophus has "a lot of energy and a passion for helping kids learn and grow" and has been involved in many aspects of school leadership during his three years at Washington. His responsibilities have included co-leading strategic plan activities to advance the use of technology and prioritize common core standards in math; utilizing technology to help enhance communication among colleagues; and helping develop a matrix of expected behaviors and a system for acknowledging students for making positive choices.
He also planned and implemented Outdoor Education trips to a YMCA camp for fifth graders; served on problem-solving teams for students who are receiving interventions; and worked with the PTA to help plan and implement student clubs. At Lincoln, in addition to teaching sixth and seventh graders, Ophus was a Wildcat Team leader, co-principal of Summer Quest, helped pilot the Smart Board initiative, served on a math curriculum review committee, co-created a service club, implemented service learning projects, coached volleyball and track and field, sponsored and implemented the variety show and sponsored chess club. Ophus graduated from Trinity International University with a degree in Elementary Education. He received his Master's in School Leadership from Concordia University. The District 57 school board is expected to officially hire Ophus April 26, and Ophus will spend some time at Fairview before the year ends.
This will give him an opportunity to walk around the building and get to know students and staff, as well as work with April Jordan on the transition," Aumiller says. She adds that she is thankful to the interview team, which included administrators, staff members and parents, for finding such a highly qualified candidate and for completing the process in a very timely manner. District 57 serves more than 2,000 pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students in Mount Prospect. District 57 schools are Fairview School, Lions Park School, Westbrook School for Young Learners, and Lincoln Middle School. For information: www.d57.org.