Neighbors in the News: River Trails Middle School names new principal

The River Trails School District 26 Board of Education appointed Kyle Henkel as principal of River Trails Middle School. He replaces Mary Krall-Meske, who has served as the school’s principal since 2020.

In his new role, Henkel will be in charge of the school’s day-to-day operations.

Henkel has worked as the assistant principal at River Trails Middle School since 2020. Prior, he taught business classes at both the high school and middle school levels and served as the dean of students in West Aurora School District 129. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and a master’s in educational leadership from Aurora University.

“We are so proud that Kyle will be the next principal at River Trails Middle School,” said Jodi Megerle, District 26 superintendent. “He is the ideal candidate for this position and can make a significant impact for students, staff, and community in this role.”

Mount Prospect native Petty Officer 2nd Class Curran Whyte. Courtesyof Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adriones Johnson

Mount Prospect native Petty Officer 2nd Class Curran Whyte serves the U.S. Navy, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11, which operates the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Whyte, who graduated from Prospect High School in 2019, joined the Navy four years ago. Today, he serves as an information systems technician.

“I joined the Navy because I didn’t have plans after high school,” said Whyte. “I wanted to pursue something I believed would be useful for my future.”

The Super Hornet is one of the most advanced aircraft in the world, according to Navy officials. The aircraft take off from and land aboard Navy aircraft carriers at sea and are capable of conducting air-to-air combat, as well as striking targets on land.

Pfc. Nathan Johnson of Arlington Heights Courtesy of Illinois National Guard

Pfc. Nathan Johnson of Arlington Heights was named the Illinois Army National Guard “Soldier of the Year” at the Illinois Army National Guard's Best Warrior Competition, held April 12-14 at the Sparta Training Area in Sparta.

The competition pitted the top placers from each of the Illinois Army National Guard’s major subordinate commands against each other to test the soldiers’ physical endurance, mental toughness, leadership abilities, as well as analytical and decision-making skills.

Johnson studies political science and aviation at Harper College. He plans to continue his education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

His military goal in the Illinois Army National Guard is to become a warrant officer and helicopter pilot, and as a civilian he aspires to become an Illinois State Police pilot. He is a soldier with the National Guard’s 135th Chemical Company, based in Machesney Park.

Rebecca Hansen will begin in her role as an associate principal at Edgewood Middle School in July. Courtesy of Rebecca Hansen

North Shore School District 112, Highland Park, appointed Rebecca Hansen associate principal of Edgewood Middle School, effective July 1.

Hansen joins the district from Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School, where she has served as assistant principal since 2022. Prior to that, she served as a special-education teacher at Goochland High School in Virginia. She began her career as a social studies teacher at the middle and high school levels.

Hansen holds a bachelor's degree in social science teaching from Eastern Illinois University, a master’s degree in education in K-12 special education from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an advanced degree in educational leadership from Old Dominion University. Hansen is currently pursuing her director of special education certification at Lewis University.

  • Send your Neighbors in the News items to
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.