Dr. McGuire came to me last February with an idea he had for me going into my last year at HBRMS. So, you can imagine the thoughts I had going through my mind on the ride home? Maybe he was putting me back into a classroom oh my! Promoting me-not a chance! Maintenance supervisor? Transportation? Okay, in a worst-case scenario he traded me to a neighboring district, and I would be a Bobcat for the final year of my career. But he came to me with this idea of working with a co-principal for the entire year. He talked about HBRMS and what we have accomplished over the years together. Our school culture and the challenges a new person could face coming into the building. I was honored and humbled in the end and very grateful HBR CUSD 429 would afford me this opportunity.
Turn to March and candidates are showing up at the door. They were showing up with suits and ties and dresses. There was one candidate who showed up in the office and I started having a conversation with them -forgetting to introduce myself, of course, because everyone knows the old man in the office. It was one of our dress up days or a Friday and I am wearing jeans, blue chucks and I believe my Jimmy John’s shirt. Somehow Kim still took the job even after not knowing who I was or why this man was talking to me?
As we are now a year into this process words do not do it justice. It has been one of the best experiences I have had in education. It took approximately three weeks for me to give Kim all my knowledge and one of those she spent at the HBRES. But seriously, adding and working with someone on a day-to-day basis- sharing all the different duties, having someone in house to ask and talk things through, going through the ups and downs of a school year has been a blast. As the last few weeks count down it continues to be a privilege to work with all the parents, community members, staff, and teachers and Kim. I am going to miss this place and it will be hard to leave, As I said before, I was born a Mendota Trojan became IVVC Apache, a Fighting Illini, Illinois State Red Bird, taught in the home of the Lamoille Lions and Northbrook Spartans, but I will always be an HBR Royal.
Thank you HBR. You have a great person taking over and I am honored to be called her friend!
When I first saw the job posting for HBR Middle School Co-Principal, I remember thinking, “Hmm, this sounds interesting!”. I hadn’t seen a co-principal position being advertised before, so I was instantly intrigued. I started to do a little research on HBR and quickly found that it is a district that I would be proud to be a part of. I remember meeting someone in the main office the day of my interview and I had no clue who he was. We exchanged a few words and then I went off to my interview. A few short months later and poor Jeff can’t get away from me!
I don’t think I have laughed so much at a job ever before in my life. Each day there are “surprises” waiting to be found, such as a rubber mouse on the hood of my car, rubber snakes under my keyboard, my chair being messed with, and the list goes on.
Working with Jeff reminds us all that we always need to take the time to play a practical joke on a friend, to ask a student how their game went, to stand out front and greet each student as they arrive at school, and to say goodbye to each student as they leave for the day. These little things are what builds relationships, trust and community and Jeff really showed me how important these things are to keep the school family close and happy.
I have only had one year working alongside him and I’m so sad that his retirement is quickly approaching; I can’t imagine how the people that have worked alongside him for 19 years feel! His bond with families, staff and students is unmatched and inspiring to observe. Jeff has his priorities straight and pours into the things that matter: relationships.
I’m eager to step into the principal role next year and feel prepared, supported and ready. I plan to carry on traditions that have become an integral part of our HBR community and middle school.
Happy retirement, Mr. Strouss. Your legacy will live on at HBRMS for years to come.