Diane Hutchins named new Galesburg High School principal

 by Norm Winick

Diane Hutchins of Springfield was named the new Principal at Galesburg High School beginning July 1st. According to research conducted by Superintendent Neil Sappington, she is the first female to hold that position since Mary E. Gettemy ended her 19-year reign in 1895.

What distinguished Hutchins from the other 26 applicants, according to Sappington, was her secondary experience. "While she was the Associate Principal at Sterling High School in title, she actually ran that school for most or parts of two years while the principal was out for health reasons. She is very knowledgeable about curriculum and has experiencing implementing a discipline program at a large school."

Hutchins, a former high school English teacher, says that she is coming to Galesburg with no preset agenda. "My first job will be to get to know the faculty, staff and students. From the people I’ve talked to, things seem to be going pretty well and I don’t have any immediate plans to change anything. Among other things, I like that there is a consistent discipline code that is district-wide."

Even though she is currently a middle school principal, she says that she has a wide range of experiences and is comfortable with a diverse student body like Galesburg’s. "At my school now, over 48 percent of the students are African-American and 80 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. At Sterling, there was a very large Hispanic population. My relationship with my minority students has always been excellent."

Hutchins says that the Galesburg job is the only one she had applied for. "A friend of mine from Galesburg called me and told me the position was opening up and I pursued it. I had looked at Galesburg when Bill Scheffler applied and was impressed with the district and the faculty. I like the size of the city; I like that there are two colleges; I like that there is a vocational center at the high school. I’m aware that the city is suffering some economic hardships but almost all communities in Illinois are suffering. I looked at the district’s finances and they appear to be well-managed."

"I was very pleasantly surprised at my discussions with students during the extensive interview process. I was really surprised by their good questions, including a frequent concern of ‘how will you get to know us?’ I will be out and about. I’ll have an open-door policy but I will also spend a lot of time in classrooms."

"I am eager and anxious to be here."