Continuing the 5 Questions
Question #4 of “5 Questions You Should Ask Your Principal”
How do you build leadership in your school?
Since we have more leaders than formal leadership positions in our school, I try to provide opportunities for people to contribute in other ways. At any given time, there are committees, presentations, and other professional development opportunities that I use to develop leadership skills. It can be easy to tap into the same people all the time, but I try to avoid this scenario, if possible. I try to select people for these opportunities based on their strengths, or even to help someone improve a perceived area for growth.
I also find that if I afford committees some autonomy to pursue outcomes as they see fit, there is higher engagement and often a better product. My wife has heard me say, “You can tell me WHAT I’m supposed to do, but I’d rather you not tell me HOW I’m supposed to do it.” (I won’t tell you how often she has to tell me what to do. You’re probably also wondering just how inefficiently I load the dishwasher/fold clothes/etc. These details are best left untold!) I try to adhere to this philosophy at work--we can shape the vision together, but I want people to put their own stamp on the work we are doing.
What about the students? I have to admit, this is an area that I haven’t explored at great length yet. Again, we have the formal leadership positions available for them to pursue, but there is a tremendous amount of talent and potential walking around these halls! One thing I have tried to do as principal is to help our students build Fremd into a place they can take pride in. If they feel pride in their school, they are more likely to get involved in maintaining that source of pride--and this kind of work is truly rewarding.
Highlights and Successes
- Congratulations to Coach Jerry Moon and the Fremd Chess Team on finishing their MSL season undefeated again this year with a 14-0 record (10-0 record during the regular season and a 4-0 record at the conference tournament).
- The following students won individual medals for finishing in the top 3 in the MSL on their respective boards: Board 1: Nathan Xu (undefeated); Board 2: Ian Freeman; Board 3: Derek Cheng; Board 4: Owais Suhale (undefeated); Board 5: Matt Kennedy (undefeated); Board 6: Ryan Groch (undefeated); and Board 7: Tim Moran
- Congratulations to Directors Matt Moore, Jeremy Figlewicz and Sam Simpson and the Fremd Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band for their performances at the 38th annual “Northshore Jazz Festival” (Glenbrook South HS). The Jazz Ensemble (directed by Matt Moore) was awarded straight “Division 1/Superior” ratings by three collegiate judges in the top band division. The Jazz Lab Band (directed by Jeremy Figlewicz and Sam Simpson) was also awarded a “Division 1/Superior” rating in the second band division.
- Congratulations to Coach Kristen Newby and the Boys Swim Team on their 2nd place finish at the Glenbrook South Art Van Aman Invite. Award winners include: 1st place 200 Medley Relay (Joey Carlisle, Austin Yurasek, Danny Konishi, Nick Nevins); 3rd place 200 IM -Joey Carlisle; 2nd and 3rd place 50 Freestyle (tied with each other) Austin Yurasek and Nick Nevins; 3rd place 100 Butterfly - Danny Konishi; 3rd place 100 Freestyle - Roshan Rajan; 2nd place 200 Free Relay (Roshan Rajan, Austin Yurasek, Kenny Benjamin, Nick Nevins); and 3rd place 100 Backstroke - Joey Carlisle.
- Congratulations to the following Varsity Debaters for winning awards at the Carl Sandburg High School Debate Tournament: Public Forum--Zachary Jordan and Ishan Taparia (1st Place), Lincoln-Douglas--Jessica Lu (3rd Place), Angie Peng (4th Place). Speaker awards were also earned by Sresht Iyer, John Komoll, Jessica Lu, and Angie Peng.
Upcoming Home Activities and Varsity Events
Boys Swimming & Diving Senior Night vs. CHS - 4:30 p.m.
Girls Basketball Senior Night vs. SHS - 7:30 p.m.
Wrestling vs. MSL conference @ HEHS - 5:00 p.m.
Girls Gymnastics vs. MSL Conference @ Hersey - 6:00 p.m.
Girls Bowling vs. MSL conference @ Arlington Lanes - 8:30 a.m.
Cheerleading Sectionals @ RMHS - 9:00 a.m.
Wrestling vs. MSL conference @ HEHS - 11:30 a.m.
Boys Basketball @ Carmel - 7:00 p.m.
Girls Basketball @ HEHS - 7:30 p.m.
Girls Gymnastics vs. IHSA Regional - 6:00 p.m.
Orchesis Dance Show - Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
Cheerleading @ State - Bloomington
Girls Basketball vs. Palatine - 6:00 p.m.
Boys Basketball vs. Palatine - 7:30 p.m.
For a more complete list, please visit our Athletics Page.
Name: Brian Harlan
Position: Assistant Principal
Years at Fremd: This is currently my second year at FHS.
Life Before Fremd: Prior to Fremd I worked in the district teaching science (Geology, Astronomy, Earth Science, and Physical Science) at Hoffman Estates High School for 6 years. I also served as Dean of Students at HEHS during the 2012-2013 school year.
I grew up in Marengo, Illinois, and attended Marengo High School. I received an M.S. in Geology from University of Illinois and moved on to attain an M.S. in Geology from Northern Illinois University as well as a teaching certificate. In 2012 I completed an M.A. in Educational Leadership.
Hobbies/Interests: Most of time is spent running around with my two sons (1 ½ and 3 ½) who seem to have endless energy. When it is warm out you can find us around the local parks as much as possible.
I am currently enrolled in another Master’s program through NIU working towards my M.S. in School Business Management which takes up most of any other time I have. When I do get free time I enjoy fishing, golfing, and most of all, spending time with my wife.
Insider Tip for Parents: Coming from a small high school I am amazed at all of the course offerings that Fremd has to offer. Encourage your students to take advantage of all the great academic opportunities. I’m always amazed at the number of students over the course of my career that have come back and informed me they changed career paths because of a specific class or teacher they had in high school.
Ask the Principal
Q: In recent newsletters, I’ve read that the PARCC exams are replacing the Prairie State Achievement Exam, which included the ACT. Does this mean that colleges will also replace the ACT with the PARCC exams?
A: Right now, colleges and universities have no designs to replace the ACT or SAT as their enrollment exams. Because the exams are so new, we are all waiting to see what kind of information the exams can give us. This year, we will still be offering a free ACT to all juniors on March 3. District 211 plans to continue to offer the ACT to juniors, but we are awaiting further planning information from the Illinois State Board of Education like cost and possible dates.
Are you curious about something at Fremd but have never asked? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your question is pertinent to a wider audience, I will include it in the next blog post.