New year, new principal

South hires new staff, adds furniture for 2023

Mia Carr, asst. features editor

South students will see a multitude of changes implemented at the start of the 2022-2023 school year, including a new principal, classroom upgrades, and general maintenance, Cameron Muir, Associate Principal for Curriculum and Instruction, said.

The biggest change will occur when Dr. Barbara Georges joins South as the new principal. Though she does not technically begin her new role until July 1, she has already set a goal for what she would like her first year to look like, with her priority being to get to know the school, Georges said.

“My intention is for my first year [at South] to be a learning year,” Georges said. “To get to know everybody, particularly [students]. [I want to] learn about all the great things already [happening at South] and put myself in a position where I can fold myself in seamlessly.”

Before being hired at South, Georges held various positions in education, including serving as the Associate Principal of Curriculum and Instruction at Grayslake Central High School, a career she credits for teaching her many valuable lessons she plans to use while working as South’s principal.

“[My position as Assistant Principal has given me the ability] to innovate on behalf of students to change the paradigm of education,” Georges said. “I’m hoping to take some of these things [I have learned and bring them to] South.”

Another change that will occur is in the classrooms; in every department’s classrooms there will be new carpeting, paint, whiteboards, furniture, and LED lighting installed over the summer, Casey Wright, Associate Principal of Administrative Services, explained. In the Science Department, there will be a “pilot classroom” that will have new luxury vinyl tile flooring and furniture, he included.

“[The science classrooms] are unique with different kinds of plumbing [and] gas,” Wright said. “[We need] to take more time with the [science classrooms], [so] we’re really looking at [updating] the standard classrooms [at the moment].”

These renovations will cost a total of $3.9 million funded by the Board of Education; this money will go to maintaining as well as upgrading 110 academic learning spaces, a recent report from the Board of Education stated.

Maintenance for the school is essential, Wright said. By updating classrooms and keeping the school in good shape, students will be able to enjoy being at South, he said.

“[Taking care of the school] is not [always] building a new room, but it is significant in terms of [improving the] learning experience in the classroom,” Wright said. “[The school is] not Disney World, [but it should be a place] that feels comfortable.”

In addition to new furniture and classroom maintenance, there will be nine new staff members: one in the Math Department, two in Physical Education, two in the Science Department—one who is new and another who is returning—two in Business, one in Consumer Science, one in the Social Studies Department, and another teaching Japanese, Muir said.

Muir explained that despite the new hires, there will be no major changes to class curriculum.

“We are always revising and reviewing curricular changes within subjects, but that usually [means] more tweaking [as opposed to major changes],” Muir said.

Additionally, when Georges learned that she would be the new principal, she expressed pure excitement, as she feels her career has been preparing her well for this new role.

“[When I found out I was hired], it was incredibly joyful,” Georges said. “This is a community and role that I have been planning for a long time. [Learning that I was hired] felt like coming home.”