Meet the new Highland Middle School principal
Highland Middle School's current assistant principal and athletic director will be the school's new principal next year.
Liz Weder will be the Highland School District's sixth administrator to find a new place in the 2018-2019 school year.
Weder will take over as the school's principal on July 1, when the school's current principal Dr. Erick Baer transfers to superintendent of St. Rose School District.
"I have no doubts that Ms. Weder will lead her staff and students to bigger and better things in the future," Baer said. "I couldn't be happier for Highland students, staff, and the community."
Highland High School will also get a new principal in light of Dr. Karen Gauen's retirement. Gauen will be replaced by Dr. Chris Becker, the school's current assistant principal. Becker's position will be filled by Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Caleb Houchins, who is followed by Amy Boscolo, an assistant principal from Rantoul City Schools.
Weder's promotion comes in her 17th year at the middle school. Weder said HMS is a special place that is positive, supportive, and runs on collaboration and team work.
"I'm really honored to be able to continue to have the opportunity to have an impact at HMS, working with the best staff that anybody could ever ask for," Weder said.
The Highland native and Triad Highland High School graduate came to teach at HMS in 2001, after graduating from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a bachelor's degree in secondary education with an emphasis on history and language arts. Weder first was hired on as a seventh-grade geography teacher.
"I've been working here ever since. It's my home," Weder said.
Though she had aspirations to become a high school history teacher, Weder said she fell in love with teaching middle school.
During her time at HMS, Weder has served on countless leadership committees, been involved with student council and other programs, and coached seventh-grade softball and seventh- and eighth-grade volleyball.
In 2012, she graduated from SIUE with a master's degree in educational administration. Four years later, Weder started learning the ropes, working alongside Dr. Baer as interim assistant principal and athletic director.
"In my personal observation, she is the full package of what an administrator should be," Baer said.
Baer described Weder as hard-working, compassionate and forward-thinking. Overall, Baer said Weder leads by example, is flexible in her decisions, and knows how to work with middle school-age students.
"Perhaps her best attribute is the students love her," Baer said.