DGN’s Janice Schwarze awarded Dupage County Principal of the Year


Mrs. Schwarze was recognized for her achievement at the Dec 14 school board meeting

Jake Morgan, Sports Editor

Principal Janice Schwarze was selected as the DuPage County Principal of the Year on Dec 14 by the Illinois Principals Association, putting her in the running for the state Principal of the Year selection.    


In the mind of senior Matt Rowley, who works with Schwarze as a part of the Student Advisory Council, her optimistic mindset and abilities to lead have been highlighted by this challenging year.


I would say that one thing that stands out with Mrs. Schwarze as our principal is that she always remains optimistic and holds a great attitude despite the circumstances, especially considering the large amount of hardships DGN has had to deal with throughout the years,” senior and Student Advisory Council member Matt Rowley said. 


Mrs. Schwarze definitely endured hardship for sure. Through the five years that she’s been at the school, Schwarze has had to lead through plenty of crises. 


“I think one thing that has been unusual for me as compared to other Principals is that North has faced a lot of crises during my five years as Principal. I tried to lead calmly and with care,” Schwarze said.


Schwarze was surprised and full of gratitude when she realized that she had won the award. 


The award means a lot because I work closely with many of the DuPage Area Principals and I have a great deal of respect for them,” Schwarze said. 


Courtney Dement, a member of the Illinois Principals Association (IPA), was one of the people who picked Mrs. Schwarze to win the prestigious award.


She was chosen because of her student-centered leadership and her commitment to the community of Downers Grove. In addition to making an academic impact, Janice is a strong leader of people. She puts her faculty and staff at the forefront, and is transparent with her communications at all times,” Dement said. 


Winning this award means that a principal must stand out, and, according to Dement, Schwarze did just that. 


“She has been a leader in the DuPage Region for a long time, and she truly cares about her students and her school. She consistently goes above and beyond to take care of the students and staff at her school, and she is very active in many organizations in our area that focus on leadership,” Dement said. 


Another member of the Student Advisory Council who works closely with Schwarze is Anika Oplanic, who admires and appreciates Schwarze’s talents.


“Ms. Schwarze is a beloved person at North High School – and for good reason. It’s kind of hard to explain it, but she’s just an incredibly genuine person. Many students feel that they can talk to Mrs. Schwarze about anything, which is a great attribute for a principal to have,” she said. 


With Schwarze retiring next year, she explained how this award set her up well for future plans. 


“When I retire, I would like to do some consulting work or perhaps coaching of instructional leaders. Thus, this is a nice award to include on a resume,” she said. 


Hank Thiele, the superintendent of District 99, had nothing but praise for Schwarze and her accomplishment. 


“Principal Schwarze has helped to redesign the physical space of North High while also leading learning forward. North High will be forever better and different as a result of the work she has done,” Thiele said.