Lake Zurich division chair selected to be next assistant principal of curriculum and instruction at Naperville Central

William Tong, Editor-in-Chief & Editorial Editor

Steve Jeretina will be the new assistant principal of curriculum and instruction at Naperville Central starting July 1. Naperville District 203 made his hiring public via BoardDocs posted on March 19. 

Jeretina will replace current assistant principal Jackie Thornton, who was selected in January to be the new principal. He is the current social studies division chair at Lake Zurich High School, and has served in that position for the last 10 years. He is also the school’s current summer school principal. 

Through three rounds of interviews, Jeretina was selected out of 58 initial applicants because of his “depth of experience and knowledge,” Thornton said. 

“We designed questions around the three main areas supporting our school improvement plan: SEL (social emotional learning), MTSS (multi tiered systems of support) and equity work,” Thornton said. “He, through division chair responsibilities, has experience not only in the development and implementation, but also the monitoring of curriculum through assessments and PLC (professional learning community) work. 

Thornton also mentioned his experience in equity learning the emphasis he placed on the relationship between SEL and academic outcomes.  

Additionally, he provided insightful analysis about the validity of example school initiatives when presented with data, Thornton said. During the application process, he also provided examples of successful school policies he himself has led. 

“When we were all coming off of remote learning in 2020, we had a lot of kids who were struggling,” Jeretina said. “I led an initiative to help them gain credit and improve upon their grades in a way that would allow them to get individual support over the summer.” 

In the final stage of the interview process, Jeretina had a chance to talk to several Central administrators, teachers and other stakeholders. 

“I heard the term ‘family’ used quite frequently,” Jeretina said. “As I was talking to people, I could really get a sense of that. There’s a lot of pride. There’s a lot of encouraging things happening at Central. I started to get a sense that this is a group of people who really care about the kids that go to this school.”

With changes in personnel for two of the building’s top administration positions, the job responsibilities of each may shift in the future. 

“There are aspects of this position as an instructional leader that I certainly will play a role in as principal,” Thornton said. “I meet with a learning support coach team every week and we plan professional learning. We talk about ‘how do we support teachers?’ I know Steve will be involved in that team as well, but I’m not leaving that team. That’s one example of where things might shift a little.”

Jeretina said he is looking forward to joining the Central community. 

“What I’m looking forward to is moving into a new environment and taking with those experiences that I’ve been afforded to help students and staff from a building leadership perspective,” Jeretina said. “I’m excited. 22-23 is going to be an awesome school year.”