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New Wheaton North principal ready to lead 'one of the greatest schools in the country'

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 11:59 a.m. CST

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WHEATON – The new head of Wheaton North High School will be a familiar face for students and administration.

Matthew Biscan, the school’s assistant principal of curriculum and technology, will take the reins from retiring Principal Jill Bullo next year.

He has served the school in his current role for a decade. Before joining Community Unit School District 200, Biscan was a science and physical education teacher and assistant dean of students at Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox.

Wheaton Suburban Life reporter Nathan Lurz recently spoke with Biscan about his goals for Wheaton North.

Lurz: You were officially named as principal during the Nov. 13 Board of Education meeting. How do you feel about the new job?

Biscan: I’m very humbled and honored by the appointment and I couldn’t be happier. I think Wheaton North is one of the greatest high schools in the entire country and to be asked to lead it into the future is exciting.

Lurz: You have a background in technology, one of the district’s major talking points. What will the school will be working on in the next few years?

Biscan: Currently our teachers are working on professional learning communities, and that’s an exciting process, and sort of the way we’re doing our work now – trying to solve problems in teams.

We’re in the process of defining what kind of learning experiences we want our students to have. That has to be first in our minds before we start talking about devices.

A lot of schools get caught up in finding a device first and then making that fit. And first we need to define what experience we want our students to have, before we start adding too many devices.

Lurz: You’ve had an array of diverse experiences in education. Will that diversity help you in your new role?

Biscan:I’ve taught, I’ve been a dean, I’ve been a coach, I’ve been an assistant principal – all that has brought me to see issues from every angle. And I think that’s an important part of leading – seeing things from other points of view. I’m also a parent. That experience is something that has equipped me to lead our school.

We have very supportive parents, school board, students, faculty. And what all of us want is what is best for our kids. There are just different people who think there are different ways to go about it and I think it is the job of the principal to see all those sides and bring them together.

Lurz: What are strengths of the school?

Biscan: One good thing we have going for us is our faculty, staff and administration [are] constantly creating ways to strengthen positive relationships with our students. All of this that we’ve talked about to this point doesn’t matter if students don’t trust us, and we are constantly trying to build that trust and connect with students.

Kids want to know that people around them care about them, and that is an absolute strength about our school.

Lurz: Is there anything else you would like to say about the new job?

Biscan: The current principal, Jill Bullo, has done an outstanding job, and there is no way I would have been ready for this challenge without her mentorship and friendship.

She has moved our school forward and put it in the best place possible, and I never would have been able to tackle this challenge without her guidance.

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