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posted: 5/6/2013 8:17 AM

District 155 names two new high school principals

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  • Scott Shepard

    Scott Shepard

  • Steven Koch

    Steven Koch

Submitted by District 155

Crystal Lake Community High School District 155 board of education recently approved Scott Shepard and Steven Koch as the new principals for Crystal Lake South High School and Prairie Ridge High School, respectively.

The appointments follow the February announcement that current principals Marsha Potthoff and Paul Humpa will move into new positions for the 2013-2014 school year. The changes become effective on July 1.

"Our national search yielded nearly 80 well-qualified applicants for these positions," said Ted Wagner, board president. "Through an extensive interview process that included employees, parents, and students, these two differentiated themselves because of the visionary work they have championed in their current roles."

Scott Shepard joins District 155 from Marengo Community High School District 154, where he has served as principal of Marengo High School since 2008. While at Marengo, Shepard has overseen curricular enhancements, including the addition of new AP course offerings, implemented a one-to-one digital learning environment, created student improvement programs, and focused on enhancing a culture of inclusion.

Under his leadership, the school has implemented student engagement efforts and seen consistent student achievement growth. These efforts earned Marengo High School rankings of 61st and 1,956th in Illinois and the nation, respectively, on the recently released U.S. News & World Report best high schools list.

Shepard has 13 years of principal experience, including eight years as a principal in Nebraska. He is the Illinois Principals Association 2013 Kishwaukee Region Principal of the Year and was a nominee for the IPA Illinois High School Principal of the Year.

"The culture and expectations Scott fostered at Marengo High School matches closely with those held by Crystal Lake South's employees, students, and parents," stated Wagner.

"He will continue the culture of inclusion and help the school move closer to our student goals."

Steven Koch will return to Prairie Ridge High School, the school at which he began his career in 2001 as an English teacher. Since then, he has served as Prairie Ridge's English department chair (2005-2008), administrators to engineer the district's evaluation process. He codesigned District 155's Framework for Quality Instruction, which provides descriptions, examples, and training in best-practice teaching methods.

Additionally, he redesigned the mentoring and faculty induction program, allowing new faculty members to more successfully begin their teaching careers. Koch serves as an adjunct professor in the Northern Illinois University graduate school of education, and he has presented at or been published in several education industry conferences and publications.

"Steve has shown a great talent for empowering teachers, faculty, and staff to help each student reach his or her full potential," said Wagner.

"The programs he has developed have had a profound, positive effect on how we educate and serve our community's students."

Marsha Potthoff and Paul Humpa, Crystal Lake South's and Prairie Ridge's current principals, have accepted new positions with District 155. Potthoff will serve as coordinator of grant management and educational services, and Humpa will return to the classroom to teach mathematics.

"Over the past decade, our students have been fortunate to attend schools led by Paul and Marsha," said Johnnie Thomas, District 155's superintendent. "We are confident that their enthusiasm and passion for our students will continue to have a positive impact on our schools. Scott and Steve have the vision and leadership skills to build off this legacy and lead our schools and students to further growth."

Community High School District 155 is comprised of four high schools, including Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, and Prairie Ridge, and an alternative education center, Haber Oaks.

The district serves 7,000 students from several cities in McHenry and Lake counties. More than 90 percent of its Class of 2012 continued their education beyond high school. For 2013, District 155 is one of only 539 districts across the country to earn AP District Honor Roll status from the College Board.

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