New principals have been named at Central Middle School and Country Trails Elementary School in Central Unit District 301.
Carie Walter and Jeff King are leaving schools they helped open five years ago. Walter, who is currently principal at Country Trails Elementary School, will succeed Lloyd Stover at Central Middle School. Stover has spent 33 years in the district, including the last nine as principal at Central Middle School. He will retire at the end of June.
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Meanwhile, King was the first principal at Gilberts Elementary School in Community Unit District 300. King will replace Walter at Country Trails Elementary School.
"I like the smaller district and the community feel they have there," King said. "A big piece of why I wanted to go there is because in the smaller district you have very tight-knit group of administrators -- there's only four elementary schools versus the challenge of 16 elementary schools. It is a smaller team to collaborate with more often."
Walter said she is looking forward to returning to her roots at the middle school level, having started her career as a seventh- and eighth-grade math and science teacher at Huntley Middle School in Huntley Unit District 158.
"The biggest different when you walk into the elementary building, all of the kids already love you and you don't really have to work for their love and trust," Walter said. "That is the greatest challenge at the middle school level. I enjoy the conversations and trying to build those relationships and earning their trust and respect."
Her predecessor, Stover, began his career in District 301 in 1979 as an elementary school physical education teacher. He has been principal at numerous District 301 schools, as well as athletic director. Stover said his greatest accomplishments were bringing golf and wrestling to the district, opening Prairie View Grade School and having Central Middle School receive the state's award of academic excellence two years in a row.
"I am going to miss influencing young people," Stover said. "I think I have a lot to offer them; sometimes they are very willing to accept it and sometimes they are not. But if you make a difference in a few peoples' lives, that makes it feel very worthwhile."