The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner
Carthage-Illini West High School has hired a new principal beginning with the 2016-17 school year-Scott Schneider who is currently ending his 4th year as Principal of West Central High School in Biggsville.
Schneider said, "I made the choice to move to improve myself professionally. Different opportunities, and experiences, and it is a slightly bigger school. It was an opportunity I could not pass up.
"This is a great area that has so many things to offer, I do love living here.
In discussing the goals he has accomplished Schneider said, " The things I am most proud of here at West Central is the relationships I have made with teachers, staff and students. We have accomplished a great deal in four years."
Among the highlights of Schneider's from his perspective are:
"I will miss West Central and it was an agonizing decision. I went back and forth for four days on whether I should accept the position or not.
It will be tough leaving, but I am looking forward to a new school and new challenges.
Mr. Schneider earned his administration degree from Eastern Illinois University in 2011, and began his first year as a principal at West Central after 22 years of teaching History in Oakland.
Born in Berwin, he moved to Bolingbrook, at the age of three, where he graduated from Bolingbrook High School in 1981.
Mr. Schneider enjoys a broad range of interests. During his high school years he participated in baseball and football, continuing his love for sports while attending Southern Illinois Univeristy-Carbondale through the intermural program. It was there where he met his wife, Karla. They just celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary this year. Karla will continue as the Administrator at Oak Lane Nursing Home in Stronghurst. The couple live in Burlington, Iowa where he says they plan to remain.
Their only daughter, Sarah took journalism at SIU-C and currently lives in Pittsburgh and works as an intern at NPR radio. She is undecided of what she will do next when her internship expires in July.
When asked about his role model or leadership figure while growing up he said,
"I first think of a few people in my church who were leaders to me. They had a good sense of humor and always had a lot of integrity. I could always count on them to do the right thing. I could always go to them for advice, and I would like to think that is where I am now.
Schneider said, if anyone needs advice on life things, he would hope they feel they can come to him.
Other leaders he looks up to are those who have integrity and pride in their workmanship.
"My dad was a butcher for 35 years. His integrity and pride in his workmanship always set an example for me. [Those qualities] can translate into many occupation roles: trust, communication, integrity, and workmanship."
"I have had school principals that gave good advice without shoving it down my throat. They were very inspirational; leaders need to be inspiring. Lincoln, Roosevelt-how they saved the country, and did things differently based on the situation.
Some interesting facts about Mr. Schneider are: Hindsboro City Council for four years. Taught 8th-12th grade History. Coached basketball, baseball, football, Scholastic Bowl, Chess Club; Class sponsor and head of History Club. School Improvement Planning Team, Anti-Bullying Committee.
Spearheaded a thematic unit program for 6th-12th grades-had 100 students in the high school, about 180 students total. We broke them up into groups that rotated every hour and thirty minutes, providing them a hands-on learning opportunity. The theme this year was medieval times. We went through all the stations in two days. We played a giant human chess game. We wanted to show how everything collaborates together-search for those connections, and then relate them to real life.
Schneider comes from a big family with two sisters and a brother, plus step brothers and step sisters on both sides, so he can relate to a broken family. During high school, he traveled to Europe in 1979 and stayed for a month, visiting Germany, France and Italy. That experience gave him an idea of how different things are there-how much more liberal things are [in Europe].
"My family enjoys traveling and we have been to Florida, the East Coast, Blackhills, and California.
"I really enjoy music, especially Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. My favorite sports team is the Cubs.
"I went into administration because I got to a point in teaching where I was only reaching a handful of kids and this was a good way to reach a much broader range of kids.
"If I could help teachers get better at teaching I could reach more kids indirectly. I am an instructional leader-a lead by example kind of guy."
"I have to get to know the students-every student I have ever had, I try to connect with them in some way.
"All you have to do is listen and build their trust. If I build the relationship with the kid, whether they like the class or not, they are more willing to work for you and put in that extra effort.
"What they are going to remember from school are the relationships they built and the skills they have learned.
I am trying to teach you how to think and how to be open-minded:to listen to both sides of an argument.
"With the way the state is now with the new regulations, it is not necessarily what you know, but what can you do with the knowledge that you have? How does it translate into real life skills?
I try to lead by experience because there is nothing you can tell me that I have not seen: drugs, alcohol, suicide, death in the school, constant discipline problems, no discipline problems, violence, etc.
"I hope there is some "comfort" for others in knowing that I know what they are going through and that I can relate.
The three things Mr. Schneider would say to someone about life?
1) You have to enjoy life; otherwise, what is the point?
2) Every day I give thanks and am appreciative of the things I have. It helps to take a step back and be very appreciative about things you do have and the opportunities available to you.
3) I always try to improve or add some new knowledge to my brain:I am always trying to look something up or find something new.
Adding to your knowledge and understanding of life is important: being inquisitive and having a broad set of interests is always helpful.
Illini West Board President Tom Holtsclaw said rthe board was very pleased with Schneider's experience.
Schneider was honored as Oakland Teacher of the Year for several years.
He has coached football, baseball, and basketball and was sponsor of several organizations.
He was Disney American Teacher Award nominee in 2001 and 2002 and Who's Who among American Teachers from 1994 to 2011.
Mr. Schneider replaces Brad Gooding who resigned as principal in the fall of 2015.
During the year, school principal responsibilities have been assumed by Superintendent Kim Schilson, Dean of Students Tim Lafferty and other staff members.