New school leaders at Germantown Hills

Nick Vlahos

 A new principal and a new administrative plan will join a new superintendent July 1 in Germantown Hills School District 69.

Dave Raffel, a behavior intervention specialist in the district, will be promoted to principal of grades six through eight. By a 7-0 vote during its regular meeting April 16, the School Board approved Raffel’s ascension.

“It’s a great district,” said Raffel, who has taught in it for four years. “I want to keep Germantown Hills at the high level it already is at.”

Raffel is the second administrative hire the district has made recently. In March, the board hired Dan Mair, a junior high school principal in East Peoria, as superintendent.

Mair also will become principal of grades three through five. The current kindergarten-through-fifth-grade principal, Shelli Nafziger, will turn over to Mair her three highest grades.

The changes are designed in part to reduce administrative commuting. Kindergarten through second grades are housed at the elementary school, about a mile west of the third-through-eighth-grade middle school.

“Administrators were running between buildings. It wears and tears, and it’s a waste of time,” district Superintendent Jim Dansart said. “We’re trying to put administrators in each building so they don’t have to run back and forth.”

The middle school is divided into intermediate and junior high wings.

Part of Raffel’s current duties include filling in for Nafziger when she is absent from a building.

“It seems like things always come up when she’s in the other building,” Raffel said.

Raffel is replacing Rick Simkins, who like Dansart is retiring at the end of this school year.

“We didn’t do an extensive search, because we knew we had some people (in the district) who were interested,” Dansart said.

Raffel has a bachelor’s degree from Eureka College and a master’s degree from Bradley University.

Previously, he spent seven years as a teacher and administrator at Peoria Academy.