Downers Grove

District 99 names new South principal

Pokorny-Lyp first female principal in school history

After an extensive search that included student, staff and family input, Community High School District 99 has named a new principal for Downers Grove South High School for the 2022-23 school year.

The board of education Monday approved hiring Arwen Pokorny-Lyp, who will start her school leadership role in District 99 on July 1.

“Arwen is a student-focused and experienced educator who has a track record of creating a positive school environment,” District 99 Superintendent Hank Thiele said in a news release. “I’m confident that Arwen, who will be the first female principal in the high school’s 57-year history, will be a tremendous leader for our students, staff and families.”

Since 2007, Lyp has worked at Hinsdale South High School, serving as principal since 2017. As principal she has fostered an inclusive school culture. She has experience working with staff, students and parents on social-emotional learning strategies, culturally-responsive practices and rigorous curriculum to ensure that all students succeed. Prior to her current role, she was assistant principal for curriculum and instruction, leading the teaching and learning initiatives at the school, the release stated.

“For over 50 years, South High has earned a reputation for academic and extracurricular excellence, and I look forward to continuing the school’s traditions while also working with our students to create new ones,” Lyp said in a statement. “I feel a special attachment to South High and D99, since I’ve lived in the South High community since 2004, and my three sons will be Mustangs in the near future and my husband is a DGN alum.”

Lyp started her career in education at Joliet Township High School District 204 as a social studies teacher, later serving as district coordinator of assessment, humanities division chairperson and district curriculum director. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and her master’s degree from Chicago State University.

Lyp will replace Ed Schwartz, who has served as principal since 2014. Schwartz is retiring at the end of the 2021-22 school year after working in education for 33 years.

“I am confident that Arwen will be an excellent leader for South High,” Schwartz said. “Her experience serving in a variety of roles at a large high school gives her a strong foundation to lead our staff and students and all of the initiatives we have underway.”