Barrington educator Herbert Price left legacy of innovation

By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 11/3/2015 3:38 PM
  • Herbert Price, Jr.

    Herbert Price, Jr.

A longtime educator who presided over four different schools as principal during his career with Barrington Area Unit District 220 has died.

Herbert Price, Jr. led Hough Street, Roslyn Road and Woodland elementary schools, as well as Barrington Middle School, during his 25 years as principal and nearly 40 years in the district.

While colleagues describe him as a popular administrator, they pointed to his innovation and dedication to sharing best practices in curriculum and professional development as his legacy.

Price passed away Oct. 29. The former Barrington resident, most recently of Huntley, was 86.

He began his career in education in 1954 as a physical education teacher and coach at the old Hough Street School in Barrington, where his wife, Jean, taught English.

Among his many students who went on to establish careers in District 220 were Sylvia Chidley, Bob Siegworth and Don Thompson, who had Price as a gym teacher and then worked alongside him as his assistant principal at Barrington Middle School.

"Herb was beloved by students, parents and the community for many years," Thompson said. "He left a fine legacy in the district."

When Price made his transition into administration in 1969, he held the rare distinction of serving as principal of two schools -- Hough Street and Roslyn Road -- for the 1969-1970 school year. He then headed to Barrington Middle School to serve as principal from 1970 to 1982.

In 1982, Price returned to Roslyn Road, where he led important initiatives in curriculum advancement in math and reading.

It was after attending an educational conference that Price volunteered Roslyn Road as one of the pilot programs of Everyday Mathematics. The project was developed by University of Chicago educators and aimed to provide children with a strong foundation in mathematics in their early years, which would result in a higher conceptual understanding later.

"We were a test run for other schools," said Judy Yount, now a first-grade teacher at Barbara Rose School in Barrington. "We sent our feedback back to the developers, and some of us went on to be consultants for other teachers. It was pretty groundbreaking."

Price later led a delegation to an educational conference in New Zealand. One of the advancements he championed when he returned was Reading Recovery, an early intervention method developed by a New Zealand educator to help boost literacy for struggling first graders.

Yount, however, remembers a softer legacy Price established after his New Zealand trip: tea and scones in the faculty lounge every day after school.

"He told us he wanted us to relax," Yount recalls. "It still brings a smile to my face."

The last school Price led was Woodland School in Carpentersville, which the district created after resurrecting the former Hickory Hill Middle School building. It marked the first time the district had an early childhood program, and later added kindergarten through sixth grades, all in the same building.

"There wasn't another building like that in the district, and they needed a special person to lead the new school. Herb was the right man for the job," Yount said.

Price led Woodland from 1987 to 1993, before he retired.

Price was preceded in death by his wife, Jean, in 2009. He is survived by his children Sara (Rick) Tustin, and Charles (fiancé Gayle) Price, and three grandchildren.

Visitation will begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday until an 11:30 a.m. funeral service at Davenport Family Funeral Home, 149 W. Main St. in Barrington.

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