New River Grove principal happy having everyone under one roof
Lisa Skelly helps kids on the slide during recess Aug. 30 at River Grove School in River Grove. Skelly is starting her first year as the principal at the school. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:41AM
RIVER GROVE — It’s all about love for the new principal at River Grove School District 85.5, because all of her students are under one roof.
Lisa Skelly, hired as the new principal for the school in July, said being an administrator has its benefits. Although she loves being a teacher, the job of a school administrator can often keep a person from coming in contact with students.
But not so here.
The school, 2650 Thatcher Ave., has all of its classes under one roof, which means easy access to the students. Skelly likes that.
“One of the things I like most is we have kindergarten through eighth grade,” she said. “I love the little guys, but I love the big guys too.”
She has a one-year contract with the school district. During that time, she hopes to have the students and staff make a smooth transition to the state’s Common Core State Standards. The Illinois State Board of Education has adopted new math and English standards for kindergarten through 12th grade students, to better prepare them for success in college and in the workforce.
“I want to make sure the teachers are involved in the process, getting them the resources they need to teach their students to the best of their ability,” she said.
She also plans to sit back and let others do the talking, to discuss how to improve the school district.
“I want to hear what has worked for our kids and what hasn’t worked for our kids,” she said. “You can’t always come in with your guns blazing.”
But just in case, she has the credentials, graduating from Eastern Illinois University in 1999, getting her master’s degree in teaching and learning from St. Xavier University in 2004, along with her administrative certificate from the same place in 2006.
She was a math teacher for several years, later moving into an administrative role as an assistant principal in several school districts.
Skelly sees River Grove School as the perfect fit. Her boss, River Grove School District 85.5 Superintendent Glenn Grieshaber, says so far so good.
“She’s a bright young gal,” he said. “I think her background in curriculum is what the district needs at this time. She comes to this job with both feet on the ground.”
He said she’s made a good impression on people, being visible, interacting with students, parents and staff. Skelly can often be seen outside during recess.
“She’s covered a lot of ground in three weeks,” Grieshaber said.
Skelly wanted to be a teacher since the third grade and hasn’t looked back since, but her choice was solidified when a student she was teaching finally understood the subject matter.
“I was hooked when my student had an ‘A-ha’ moment,” she said. “I wanted more of that.”