Meet your interim principal

Photo by Carolyn Wagner
Meet Stephen Bild, LZHS’s current interim principal. After retiring from being principal at Downers Grove South five years ago, Bild has come to LZ in the wake of Robert Vossel’s resignation to support the school for the remainder of the year.

With the resignation and personal leave of Bo Vossel, former LZHS principal, in November, the next big question arose: who would take care of the school while he was gone? The answer came at the Board of Education’s December 5 meeting, approving Stephan Bild, interim principal.

Although Bild can now be seen in the halls every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and keeps the school updated with weekly principal blogs, there is still plenty to learn about LZ’s new interim principal.


Q: How are you liking LZ so far?

A: Actually it’s been great. The people couldn’t be better. This is a great school, it’s got great highly performing students, services for students that need it, a beautiful building, and I don’t think it could be going better. And I haven’t broken anything yet, so that’s good. 


Q: Where did you work last?

A:  I retired from being principal at the District 99 Downers Grove South High School five and a half years ago. 


Q: How long did you work at Downers Grove South?

A: I was principal for the last six years of my career there, but before that, I was in the building as a teacher or administrator for 28 out of my 38-year career. I taught special education. 


Q: What are some differences between working in Downers Grove and working in LZ?

A: In Downers Grove, there are only the two high schools, so working in a district that’s K through 12 is a little bit different. There, the needs of each campus are different and I was principal of one of the schools, and [the other principal and I] were so busy working in our own schools, we didn’t have as much opportunity to collaborate. So the beauty of working in a building like this is that you have a whole set of administrators here, all focused on your school, so it feels a little bit different for me and representing student interests and needs at the district meetings. Also, [population-wise], the school I came from was much larger, so there was quite a bit more to do, with more teachers, more students, more administrators, more day to day paperwork. 


Q: Why did you come out of retirement to be interim principal of LZHS?

A: I’ve been involved in a lot of things since I retired and done a variety of consulting with other school districts about leadership and that’s when I got a phone call from Dr. Gallt. The school needed a principal, and they asked me to consider it and when I came up here to meet all the people I couldn’t say no. 


Q: How have you stayed involved with education while you were in retirement?

A; I’ve mentored new principals, I supervise student teachers for the University of Illinois, I teach a couple of graduate courses for the University of St. Francis out of Joliet for teachers, and even now, I schedule observations for student teachers in a variety of places. I also have seven principal interns that I supervise for the University of St. Francis who are getting their degrees and licensure to be a principal.


Q: Were you doing anything during your retirement not education-related?

A: My wife and I have been doing a little traveling. We spent a month on the Mediterranean cruise ship, gone on cruises from San Diego to Miami, and when I got the call from Dr. Gallt,  I was on a cruise ship with my wife in the Panama Canal.


Q: Where’s your favorite place you have traveled to so far?

A: I’d have to say my favorite place is the Italian Amalfi Coast and the Mediterranean. It’s just gorgeous. The view from the water on to the villages that are on the mountainside is spectacular, and they’re all colorful and beautiful. 


Q: Do you have any kids?
A:  I have two grown boys. Well, they’re men now. I shouldn’t say, boys. One of them is a jazz trumpet performer in Philadelphia, and he’s 26. I don’t see him enough, but he’ll be back for my other son’s graduation.  My younger son is 25, and he is graduating from law school in May, and he hopes to be working as a lawyer in the Chicago area. He lives in Downers Grove, so we see him more often.


Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: I never had time for hobbies. I’m envious of people that have hobbies outside of work. My work has also been my hobby, and I do enjoy following politics. I enjoy traveling too, so I’d love to just travel more often, and I think that’s what I’ll do when I’m done working.


Q: If you were not an educator, what job would you have?
A: Travel agent. I’d love to help people arrange experiences that they would love to have. And just the intricacy of arranging travel arrangements intrigues me, although I’d worry about getting it right and wrong.


Q: Do you have a personal mantra that you live by?
A: I’m very service oriented so I believe strongly in providing service to others.


Q: Do you have any favorite books or movies?
A: I love every Harry Potter movie and To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book and one of my favorite films. I like the message. I like the story. I don’t like all of the outcomes, but I like the message that it sends about who we are as humans and we shouldn’t be as humans.