Westchester Primary School has new principal
Updated: August 27, 2012 6:14AM
WESTCHESTER — It is official. Westchester Primary School has a new principal.
The Westchester Elementary District 92 1/2 Board approved a contract July 19 with Lori Henkels, who will take over as principal at the kindergarten through second grade school. Her base salary will be $90,000.
Henkels has spent the last seven years working in school administration at Roundlake Unit District 116 in the northern suburbs. She has been an assistant principal and most recently principal at Walt Whitman Elementary School in Wheeling. A resident of Arlington Heights, Henkels is married and has four grown children.
“I have a love for early childhood and building those strong foundations. Because when you build those strong foundations … it ensures success and their future,” Henkels said. “I’m just so thrilled to be welcomed by the Westchester community. They’ve been so welcoming with open arms and just encouraging and inviting.”
The first thing Henkel plans to do is get to know the community.
“You do that by being here, being available. You will see me very visible. You will see me before school out with the buses, you will see me out on the playground with the kids, on (playground) equipment. You’ll see me after school, you’ll see me at community events, you’ll see me at night time school events,” she said.
As principal, Henkels anticipates hearing parents’ goals for the future of the primary school.
“Bottom line it is all about the children. And we want the children to learn, and to love learning. and that is an expectation for every principal,” she said.
Henkels is not the only new leader to join the district. Earlier in the year Erin Dwyer, a resident of Westchester, was hired as principal of Westchester Intermediate School, where she had already been working as an assistant principal. The School Board approved her contract at the beginning of the year.
This is Greg Leban’s second year as principal of the Westchester Middle School, though he has been with the district for the last eight years.
July 19 was also the first School Board meeting for the district’s new superintendent, Michael Dziallo, who was assistant superintendent for four years at Cicero Elementary District 99. He was also principal at that district’s Wilson school for nine years.
Board President Claire Thompson said the wave of new leadership is due to the district’s size.
“Sometimes people like to move out and advance,” Thompson said. “We’re a small community. We don’t have a ton of economical resources this year.”