Meet Naperville North High School's next principal
The next principal of Naperville North High School says she aims to bring a "breath of fresh air" into a school that's already well-regarded for educational excellence.
Stephanie Posey, who is principal at Belleville East High School in southwest Illinois near St. Louis, has been named as Naperville North's next principal to follow Kevin Pobst, who is retiring after six years leading the school.
"Naperville is a school district that is known around the state for having a rich tradition of excellence in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities," Posey said. "It's quite an honor to be chosen."
Posey has a background in special education and has been recognized by a Belleville-area civic organization for her work to promote racial harmony. She also won the southwest region secondary principal of the year award in 2013 from the Illinois Principal Association, and she soon will be transitioning from leading 2,450 students downstate to serving as the top administrator in charge of roughly 3,000 in Naperville.
"I'm very happy here, but this is going to be an opportunity and a challenge for me that I'm looking forward to," Posey said.
Posey will remain at Belleville East, where she has been principal since 2010, until June 30. The next day, she'll begin her tenure in Naperville. The 46-year-old southern Illinois native said she and her husband are excited to make the Naperville area their new home.
Posey also said she's excited to continue working with high school students, whom she sees as insightful young people on the cusp of adulthood. Her youngest son, a 17-year-old senior at Belleville East, is exactly in that age range, while her 25- and 22-year-old daughters work as a teacher and a bridal specialist.
Posey said she has started to talk with Pobst about how she can become more involved with Naperville North as July 1 approaches. Early impressions of the school have shown her an engaged student body and staff members with high expectations.
"I'm hoping I can learn as much from them as they can from me," she said.
Naperville Unit District 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges said he chose Posey because her 20 years in education -- including 10 in administration -- will serve the school well.
"Her passion for creating an inclusive community, focus on the achievement of every student and collaboration among faculty and students mesh well with our mission," Bridges said in a statement.
Posey grew up in Murphysboro, Illinois, near Carbondale. She got her bachelor's and master's degrees from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in special education and educational administration, respectively. Posey also holds an education specialist degree in education administration from Lindenwood University.
"I love curriculum and instruction," she said. "My passion has always been education."
Posey also has experience working to promote achievement among students of different racial backgrounds. As District 203 diversifies, administrators have been discussing the importance of culturally responsive teaching practices and making sure all students feel respected and included.
At Naperville North, which has 66 percent white students, 16 percent Asian students, 8.4 percent Hispanic students, 6 percent black students and 3.4 percent multiracial students, Posey said she would listen and evaluate before creating any new diversity-related initiatives.
"Before I would do anything, I would sit back and learn the climate and culture of the school, students, staff, families and community members and find out their perception of needs before we'd work together for this to be something that is positive and influential in the community," Posey said.