Palmer eager to return to Hinsdale District 86

<p>Stephanie Palmer</p>

Stephanie Palmer

Stephanie Palmer is looking forward to becoming principal of Hinsdale South High School.

The Hinsdale High School District 86 Board last week approved hiring Palmer, the current principal of Butler Junior High School in Oak Brook, subject to both sides agreeing to contract terms. Those terms were not finalized as of Monday afternoon.

Palmer, who lives in La Grange, has been principal of Butler since 2011. Before that, she was assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at Hinsdale Central High School from 2007 to 2011.

Palmer said she wanted to return to District 86.

“I knew the lay of the land,” Palmer said. “You get to a point in your career where you want to build on the relationships you have,” not start over somewhere new.

Palmer and District 86 Superintendent Bruce Law worked together for one year, while he was the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum.

Although some administrators have left in the past year, Palmer said she knows others who are leading academic departments.

“There are some great department chairs,” she said, such as the heads of the English, science and World Languages.

Law said Palmer “understands how to work with people and the importance of high expectations in the community, and how to translate those expectations into what we do for kids.”

District 86 officials used responses to a survey of District 86 stakeholders about the qualities they wanted in a principal to winnow down a pool of 30 applicants to five candidates, who were interviewed by teachers, students, parents and community members. Four finalists were presented to the School Board for final consideration and selection.

Law recommended Palmer. The board approved her hiring by a 5-1 vote Feb. 24.

“It’s a judgment call, who is going to fit the best and serve the best,” Law said. “It’s not science.”

He believes Palmer “is going to serve South and the South community very well.”

Palmer said she will meet with the faculty and the community to learn “what they feel the students of South need, and then we will galvanize that focus and work together to move things forward.”

Butler District 53 issued a statement wishing Palmer well, noting she had initiated exploratory electives at Butler, a new master schedule and the one-to-one computer initiative, which provided all junior high students with a laptop for their use in school. She worked with staff to review curriculum in science and Spanish and to open up the placement process to expand opportunities for students. She also partnered with the PTO to add new field trip experiences for sixth- and seventh-graders, and to redesign the library.

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