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Q&A with Stephanie Palmer: future Hinsdale South principal

Stephanie Palmer has been named the new principal at Hinsdale South High School
Stephanie Palmer has been named the new principal at Hinsdale South High School

HINSDALE – Since 2011, Stephanie Palmer has served as Butler Junior High School principal. But, come July, she'll return to District 86, where she spent four years as assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at Hinsdale Central High School.

This time around, Palmer will be leading Hinsdale South High School.

On Feb. 24, the Hinsdale Township High School District 86 Board of Education appointed the La Grange resident the next principal of HSHS, effective July 1. Palmer's selection came following an applicant pool of 30, which was then narrowed down to five before a final decision was made.

Ciamprone: "You served as assistant principal before at Hinsdale Central High School, what about District 86 made you want to return?"

Palmer: "While District 86 has an excellent reputation, it really was the opportunity to work with [Superintendent] Bruce Law, Pam Bylsma [assistant superintendent for academics] and many other former colleagues for whom I have great respect as educators that drew me back."

Ciamprone: "What specifically about Hinsdale South High School made it an attractive place to work?"

Palmer: "South’s department chairs and teachers work hard to meet the needs of their students, and to create camaraderie amongst the staff. I look forward to getting to know them and to helping to build on this positive culture."

Ciamprone: "Have you spoken with current principal Brian Waterman about the role, or have you talked to him about being principal at Hinsdale South?"

Palmer: "Brian has been very welcoming, and will continue to be a valuable resource for my principalship. He was a great principal for South, and he will be missed by students, parents and staff."

Ciamprone: "I know you just got the job and won't officially move into the role until July, but any initial goals you have for your first year at Hinsdale South?"

Palmer: "My goal, first and foremost, is to lay the foundation of a trusting partnership with staff and parents. To move forward effectively, we must work together positively. I will spend a majority of my time getting to know students, staff and parents. I look forward to collaborating with these groups to determine next steps in ensuring that all students are learning at high levels."

Ciamprone: "Any challenges you see facing as you move into your new role as principal?"

Palmer: "As staff and parents get to know me, they will realize that I keep students’ best interest at the core of all decisions our team makes. Any challenges that we face will be overcome together and for the benefit of South students."

Ciamprone: "How hard was it to leave Butler Junior High School?"

Palmer: "Butler is a very special place; I will miss knowing every student and working so closely with Butler teachers. Our work this year on the instructional blueprint was especially exciting for the future of Butler 53, and I will miss not being there to help carry out that vision."

Ciamprone: "What are you most proud of from your time at Butler?"

Palmer: "I am proud of introducing to the school culture the freedom for teachers and students alike to innovate and to continually improve the school. Butler’s educational experience is now created through input from all stakeholders, especially in regard to the electives and enrichment activities."

Ciamprone: "You've been involved with education for several years, including 17 at Township High School District 214, why did you originally want to pursue education for a career path?"

Palmer: "I have always loved school. My parents were always involved in my education, whether chairing the PTO or serving on the school board. They set a great example for me that if you engage in your education, and take advantage of the opportunities that your school provides, you can do anything. "

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