Central finalizes decisions for future administrative team

Noah Rozek, Staff Writer

Dean of student interventions Merigan Neben will be Naperville Central’s assistant principal of student services starting July 1. She will replace Angela Ginnan, who currently holds that role but will be moving away. Jackie Thornton, assistant principal of curriculum and instruction, led the hiring process.

“She’s a very skilled clinician,” Thornton said. “She is experienced and is an excellent counselor in her dean of intervention role.”

All applicants for this assistant principal position were required to have extensive experience in both leading within student services or special education and in teaching.

“I also surveyed the departments to see what they were looking for in applicants,” Thornton said.  “Above and beyond the job description, that’s kind of what they were looking for.”

Neben has worked at Central for 16 years, serving eight as the dean of student intervention and eight more as a counselor.

“She has quite a variety of clinical experiences supporting students, families, adults, in a variety of settings” Thornton said.

Administrative positions have comprehensive applications with essay questions, along with interview panels from a variety of Naperville Central and district staff.

“It was a pretty rigorous process,” Neben said.

Through Neben’s work in Student Services, she gained knowledge of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as well as section 504 laws and regulations.

“She’s kind of a perfect candidate who can bridge both of those worlds,” Thornton said. “Plus, she knows Central: the structures and the people.”

“She’s kind of the perfect candidate. She knows Central: the structures and the people.”

— Jackie Thornton, assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at NCHS

Additionally, the professional relationship between Thornton and Neben is long standing, having worked together for 16 years, with room to grow.

“We’ve all seen education change through the pandemic and I’m excited to continue to evolve how Central can provide the best opportunities and learning for students,” Neben said. “I think we’ve learned a lot.”

While she hasn’t officially taken on the position, Neben is enthusiastic about her plans and opportunities. 

“I am so excited about the opportunity to work with students and families and our faculty and staff, but particularly Student Services and special education, which are the two biggest focuses in the building for the assistant principal for student services,” Neben said.

Neben is also interested in understanding students’ perspectives along with creating opportunities for all students.

“The biggest things that I am excited about is continuing to grow in making sure that this is a place where all students feel valued and included, that students find themselves and their experiences represented and reflected at Naperville Central,” Neben said.