By Bugle staff
Associate principal Janice Schwarze will take over as the next principal of Downers Grove North High School next year, and the long-time District 99 administrator couldn’t be happier.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity and privilege to serve North High’s students as their principal next year,” Schwarze said in a news release announcing the appointment. “I look forward to working with everyone in this supportive and close community.”
The District 99 Board of Education approved the appointment during its Feb. 22 business meeting. Officials also appointed Karen Taylor as the next associate principal of students and staff at Downers Grove South High School during the meeting.
Schwarze, who has been with the district since 2007, will replace current principal Scott Kasik, who has held the position for the last five years. The 37-year educator endorsed his successor, saying she is more than qualified for the job.
“Janice is knowledgeable, energetic and most importantly, cares about every student,” Kasik said. “I respect her abilities and passion to help students succeed, and know she’ll make a fine leader.”
Schwarze joined the district nearly a decade ago as the chair of the English department at Downers Grove South High. In that role, she hired, mentored and evaluated teachers, developed curriculum and led the literacy coaching program. She also served as a key leader in the district’s adoption of the new English and Language Arts standards.
In 2013, she was selected as North High’s associate principal for curriculum and instruction, leading all curriculum, instruction and assessment initiatives at the school, according to District 99.
“Janice is a proven instructional leader and someone who has significant teaching experience, so she understands the needs of both students and teachers,” Board of Education President Nancy Kupka said. “My fellow board members and I are confident that she’s the right and clear choice to lead North High well into the future.”
District 99 said it conducted an extensive search and interview process before deciding to appoint Schwarze. Ultimately, officials said the decision was based on positive reviews from staff members, students, parents and building leaders who were involved in the team interview process.
Another recent hire, incoming District 99 Superintendent Hank Thiele, led the search process and recommended Schwarze to the board of education.
“Janice is a highly regarded leader both inside of District 99 and by educators outside of the district,” Thiele said. “Her educational expertise, focus on students and commitment to Downers Grove North make Janice the perfect fit as the next principal.”
Prior to being hired by District 99, Schwarze was an English teacher at Glenbard East High School for 20 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in teaching of English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an Master of Arts in English from Northwestern University. She lives in Carol Stream with her husband Jeff. The couple has two adult children, Brian, 23, and Katie, 20.
Board hires associate principal at South High
During the Feb. 22 meeting, the board of education also approved the hiring of Karen Taylor as Downers Grove South’s associate principal for staff and students.
Currently a dean of students at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Taylor oversees the school’s behavioral program and is responsible for interventions for more than 700 students.
“It is certainly an honor to be invited to join the leadership team at Downers Grove South High School,” Taylor said. “I’m excited to help further the goals of the school and community.”
South High Principal Ed Schwartz said Taylor’s colleagues describe her as a “student-centered leader” who is passionate about serving her students.
“She is personable and approachable, and someone who will make immediate and positive connections with staff and students,” he added.
Taylor holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and women’s studies from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Master of Arts degree in educational administration from Northeastern Illinois University. She is currently working on her Doctor of Education degree at Concordia University.