A longtime assistant principal and dean at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn has been chosen as the school's next principal.
Peter Monaghan, who has been the assistant principal for student services at Glenbard West since 2004, was confirmed Monday by the school board to head the Glen Ellyn school of 2,276 students starting July 1. He will succeed Jane Thorsen, who is retiring June 30 after seven years as principal.
Monaghan was the lone internal candidate out of 42 applicants, and was chosen by a committee of district and school administrators, school board members, teachers, support staff and a principal. They began the search process in October 2012. Thorsen announced her retirement in June 2010.
Monaghan said he wants to "maintain the excellence that's been associated with this school," while also helping navigate expected changes, such as a new teacher evaluation model that is being implemented statewide.
Despite Glenbard West's high test scores and an increase in the number of students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses, Monaghan acknowledged challenges facing the school, such as a minority achievement gap he hopes to close.
"We want to make sure we provide an excellent opportunity for all of our students," Monaghan said. "We have students who struggle who come here as freshmen and are not where they should be. We need to make sure we are prepared to give them the best opportunities they can have. We're going to get them to the finish line."
Monaghan, 50, an Oak Park resident and native of suburban Detroit, came to Glenbard West in 1995 and served as dean and assistant dean before becoming an assistant principal. He previously taught English at Proviso East High School in Maywood.
In his current position, Monaghan oversees student activities and works with the school's guidance staff, deans, social workers and psychologists.
He described his leadership style as that of a collaborator who is interested in what others have to say.
"You can't be a successful leader in education without soliciting the opinion of other people," he said. "You can't find success in any organization alone."
Superintendent Dave Larson said in a statement that Monaghan "possesses strong character and integrity and is well respected by staff, students, parents and the general community."
Monaghan is paid $117,490 as an assistant principal. He will receive a pay boost and receive $131,500 in his new position.
Monaghan is pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership at Roosevelt University. He has a master of arts degree in educational leadership from Northeastern Illinois University, a master of education degree in instructional leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a bachelor's degree in English literature from DePaul University.