The longtime principal of Ss. Peter and Paul School in Naperville will retire at the end of this school year, concluding a nearly 40-year career leading the educational arm of Naperville's oldest Catholic church.
Frank Glowaty, who became principal 39 years ago in 1975, announced Thursday night in a video to the school community that he will not return as principal next fall.
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The school is about to embark on a five-year plan for strategic improvement that will not conclude until the 2018-19 school year, and Glowaty said he thinks it needs consistent leadership during that time. After "much prayerful discernment," he said, he decided to retire.
"I have concluded it is in the best interest of the school for somebody else to be principal at Ss. Peter and Paul School," Glowaty said in the video, posted Thursday evening to YouTube.
The Rev. Thomas Milota, pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, said the school was struggling to keep its doors open when Glowaty became principal. Now it is the largest school in the Diocese of Joliet and well-respected across the area.
Glowaty always would make sure students were recognized for their successes and he has been there for children and their families in good times and bad, Milota said.
"He will always be remembered as exercising strong leadership and indeed more than that -- fatherhood -- for our school families," Milota said.
The process of finding the next principal already has begun, and Milota said Glowaty will have an informal role. The school board has hired a national search firm with experience finding Catholic school principals and hopes to have its next leader chosen by April, Milota said.
The retiring principal will meet with the search firm to give advice on the skills and attributes needed to be successful in the position, but Glowaty will not serve on the search committee set up to help choose his successor.
That group will have nine members, including the Rev. John Belmonte, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Joliet; Sister Cecilia Joseph, principal of St. Jude school in Joliet; John Scanlon, Ss. Peter and Paul's school board president; Barb Enright, school board vice president; Tom Boler, the church's finance manager; school board members Shelly Jaros and Tobias Schueleter; as well as another parent and a former Ss. Peter and Paul teacher.
Milota said the search committee and search firm will take into account the school's history since its founding in 1853 as well as its future goals of improving curriculum, staffing, finances and Catholic identity as they identify candidates to be Ss. Peter and Paul's next principal.
While Glowaty will be stepping down in July, he won't be leaving the school. It's just not in his character to cut and run, Milota said.
Glowaty will assume a leadership position in advancement and will be on hand to assist the new principal once that person's tenure begins.
"It's a tall order to find someone who can fill the shoes of Mr. Glowaty," Milota said.