A new head of the class(es) in District 123
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com September 12, 2013 2:17AM
New Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 Supt. Paul Enderle said the "Pyramid of Success" by late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden has been a good guide in his career. | Steve Metsch~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 12, 2013 2:23AM
Paul Enderle has been taking his new job one day at a time.
In fact, he even devised a 100-day plan aimed at helping him learn the ins and outs of a job that has him in charge of about 3,000 children.
Enderle, 42, is the new superintendent of Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123. His new job officially began July 1, and that 100th work day will be in December. He formerly was principal of Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School.
“It’s been a great transition, a lot of opportunities to make myself prepared. I developed the 100-day plan, a transitional plan that moved me to a number of phases, a sitting-and-learning phase, an actions-oriented phase, things like that,” he said.
“It’s almost a working checklist. I want to make sure I have everything covered.”
That involves his talking with administrators, teachers, staff and parents, reviewing documents, and “getting a feel, a perspective,” he said.
On Aug. 29, he met with parents of kindergarten students, and he plans to attend fall open houses at each school in the district.
“We’re here to assist and partner with parents to help each child’s experience be successful,” he said,
Enderle lives in Oak Lawn with his wife, Amy, and their two sons, one 7 years old and the other 8 months old. That comes in handy when he barely has time between meetings to duck home for a quick dinner. Amy is “very understanding” about his long days, he said.
A former teacher and coach at his alma mater, Luther South High School in Chicago, Enderle has been in District 123 since 2003, and most recently was principal at the middle school.
“Being a principal prepares you for being superintendent because it helps you establish and understand the importance of building positive relationships from students to teachers to families to the board, even to the community, and the relationships we have even with our high schools,” he said.
With that in mind, he had each teacher make a phone call to each of his or her students. The goal was to reach out and make kids and parents feel welcome, and try to get to know each child a bit better. Going by feedback he has gotten, the idea was well-received.
“No matter what we do between 8:30 to 3:30, it’s only going to get better if we are on the same page with our families,” Enderle said.
Enderle grew up in Chicago’s Ashburn community, two blocks from Bogan High School, but went to Luther South, graduating in 1988. He was thrilled to teach and coach at his old school for 10 years and said “it was tough to leave; it was my home.”
He did it to work in school administration and is happy to say that each morning he looks forward to another day at work.
“I like having the opportunity each day to serve and help people. I know it’s cliched but making a difference in people’s lives is meaningful. To me, that is the underlying, important building block as to why I’m an educator,” he said.