Geneva D-304 middle school announces new principal

Brenna Westerhoff to replace Larry Bidlack this fall

GENEVA – Brenna Westerhoff will take on the role of principal at Geneva Middle School North, pending board approval, Geneva Community School DIstrict 304 announced July 3 in a news release.

For the past six years, Westerhoff has worked at Harrison Street Elementary School in Geneva, first as the Student Assistance Coordinator and then as the principal. Prior to working at Harrison Street, she taught Language Arts for 12 years at the original Geneva Middle School and then at Geneva Middle School North, the release stated.

She earned a master’s degree in teaching from Aurora University and a master’s degree in Reading Instruction from Concordia University, and she is currently working on her doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California, the release stated.

“Mrs. Westerhoff’s work has been well-received in each of her many roles in District 304, and she moves into the principalship at Geneva Middle School North with a solid understanding of the students, staff and culture of the school,” stated Geneva 304 Superintendent Dr. Kent Mutchler, in the news release.  “Her years of experience teaching and leading in District 304 have prepared her well to take the helm of Geneva Middle School North,” he added.

Westerhoff will replace Larry Bidlack, who recently announced he was stepping down from his current position in an effort to make the transition of the new principal as smooth as possible before he retires March 1, 2021. Mr. Bidlack will continue to work in the district this coming school year to help support this transition.

“In in an effort to make the transition of the new principal as smooth as possible, I've decided to step down from my current role as the principal of Geneva Middle School North prior to the upcoming school year,” Bidlack’s letter stated in a letter to the school board. “Please know that I will still be here in the district this coming school year to help support the next leader of GMS North.

"Being part of the North family for the past 19 years has truly been a memorable and rewarding experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such hard-working students, involved parents, and dedicated staff,” Bidlack’s letter stated. “Thank you for your collaboration and partnership over the years. It has been a pleasure serving the community and your students.”

According to an email from District 304 spokeswoman Laura Sprague, Bidlack informed officials of his intent to retire three years ago.

“The timing of Mr. Bidlack’s decision allows the district to transition to a new leader before the start a school year rather than mid-year, in an effort to make the transition as smooth as possible,” Sprague’s email stated. “Mr. Bidlack will continue to work on the middle school campus as well as at Central Office, and will help support the new leader of GMS North.”