John Stewart will have new principal

By on June 4, 2010

Assistant Principal Laura Garland to replace Brian Graber
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn will have a new principal for the 2010-11 school year, seven-year district employee Laura Garland. Garland said she plans to follow the current principal’s example of community involvement and commitment to student learning, she said.

Garland will replace Brian Graber, who announced early last week that he accepted a job as principal of Highlands Elementary School in LaGrange Highlands School District 106 in LaGrange, Ill. Graber announced his decision early last week.

Garland, of Sugar Grove, has worked for Kaneland since 2003, as a kindergarten and first-grade teacher and a reading specialist at John Shields Elementary School in Sugar Grove, and most recently as the assistant principal for two schools simultaneously, John Shields and John Stewart.

Garland’s goal when she begins in her new position is to continue the positive development Graber was responsible for while at the school’s helm, she said. Garland cited his initiatives, including reaching out to the community with resident coffees and a school newsletter, and focusing on learning through efforts such as tracking student-progress data.

“I will continue to move forward in this positive way,” Garland said.

Her predecessor, Graber, accepted the position in LaGrange Highlands in part because the school is close to his home in Western Springs, Ill. He and his family had hoped to move to the Kaneland area from Western Springs, but the housing market did not make it feasible, he said.

“It’s been a bit of a commute (to Elburn),” Graber said.

The main reason he took the job was because of his family.

“I have a 3- and 1-year-old at home, and sometimes when I leave in the morning they are still asleep and when I get home at night they are already in bed,” Graber said.

Graber is looking forward to working closer to home, but said he will miss John Stewart and the Kaneland area.

“It was a phenomenal year out here,” Graber said.

Graber became John Stewart’s principal in 2009. Previously, he was an assistant principal in Elmhurst District 205.

Until his last day at John Stewart in late June, Graber will work closely with Garland to help her acclimate to the principal position. He feels comfortable leaving the school’s leadership in her hands.

“We (he and Garland) have been very much on the same page all year long, so I feel it will be a good transition,” Graber said.

Making it official
Kaneland Associate Superintendent Jeff Schuler proposed Laura Garland for the John Steward Elementary School principal job during a special School Board meeting on Tuesday.

“I can recommend her to you without hesitation-she is the right person,” Schuler said. “She has an extensive background in reading (education) and administration,” Schuler said.

The Kaneland District 302 School Board decided in a 4-0 vote to accept his recommendation to hire Garland to replace Brian Graber, who accepted a position in another district. Present at the meeting were the board’s new president, Cheryl Krauspe, and board members Ken Carter, Elmer Gramley and Robert Myers.

Garland will receive an annual salary of $78,000.

Schuler said the district will advertise the assistant principal position she is vacating.

“We have time to make sure we get the right person in place for that position,” Schuler said.