New principal settling in at West Aurora High School
By David Sharos For the Beacon-News July 1, 2013 1:32PM
Chuck Hiscock is settling in as the new principal at West Aurora High School. | Submitted
Updated: August 3, 2013 6:23AM
Charles Hiscock is settling in quickly as the new principal of West Aurora High School.
Hiscock said that West Aurora “is a good fit for me.”
“I liked the diversity of the building and found myself liking the people I met here right off the bat,” Hiscock said. “I remember talking this over with my wife and telling her I felt this school was a good fit for me. I have always had the goal of becoming a principal one day and I didn’t want to go just anywhere.”
Hiscock’s resume includes some unusual skill sets, beginning with his interest as an illustrator which began inauspiciously when he was in first grade.
“I had this teacher that made fun of me back then because I couldn’t draw as well as the next kid, but by the time I was in fifth grade, I was really encouraged to do it and I started making my own comic books and I drew all the time,” Hiscock recalled. “When I went into the Army, I was doing painting and murals on the walls for the company.”
Hiscock said his first attempt at college went poorly and he left for a three-year stint in the Army, where he enlisted as a military policeman and saw service in Panama.
“When you go to somewhere like Panama and work in the jungle in deployment, you’re just like any other guy and you do what the infantry does,” he said. “Back when you’re on base, you work like an ordinary policeman or you go out on joint patrols and make sure servicemen don’t have problems.”
Hiscock said he caught the teaching bug after coaching a brother 10 years younger than himself in wrestling and baseball. A stint in student teaching convinced him he was on the right track and he eventually became an art teacher and a football and wrestling coach. He worked for 11 years at Alan B. Shepard High School in Palos Heights. From there, he got administration jobs in the Downers Grove High School District which included work as a dean and the associate principal of Downers Grove North High School, a job he had held since 2005.
Hiscock’s arrival brings a closure to a unique administrative conundrum that existed at West Aurora for two years. Since 2011, the principal’s position had been covered in what amounted to a job sharing position between two former principals, Ross Truemper and Rudy Keller. Community Relations Director Mike Chapin said staff responded positively to the interim leadership.
“Because state retirement regulations limit working to 100 days once you’re out of the system, the position was split and staff here really responded well to the changes both men made,” Chapin said. “We looked at filling the position permanently after the first year and the board really didn’t like any of the candidates and they didn’t want to fill the job with just anyone, so the two men worked a second year.”
Hiscock gave a shout out to his predecessors, noting that both men “did a lot of the heavy lifting for me already.”
Superintendent Jim Rydland said the district is happy to have Hiscock at the helm at West Aurora.
“Our process included feedback from parents, students and staff, and the selection and interview process included those people as well,” Rydland said. “Our goal was an experienced administrator at the high school level who could continue our focus on learning, professional learning communities and support students, staff and parents.”
Hiscock said the staff at West Aurora “is focused on kids” and that his plan for the school is to keep its students focused and make sure all are being successful.
“The days of kids choosing to pass or fail are over,” he said. “Students no longer have the right to pass or fail. We need to be teaching important things and make sure that kids learn them or figure out why they haven’t. It’s important that every student be successful.”
Hiscock also wants staff to have a joint vision that incorporates new ideas without making it seem more is being added to their plate.
“We need a consistent vision and one of my primary missions is to make that as easy as I can for teachers,” he said. “We need to have high expectations for each student and make sure we reach each kid.”