‘A team award’: Glen Ellyn administrator honored as best middle school principal in the state

Steve Diveley said “a little birdy” on his shoulder let the cat out of the bag a day early.

But his excitement and pride never waned as he addressed an auditorium filled with students, teachers, administrators, family and well-wishers gathered to “surprise” him and celebrate quite an achievement.

The principal of Hadley Junior High School in Glen Ellyn was honored March 23 as the Illinois Middle School Principal of the Year for 2023. Chosen among 21 statewide regional finalists, Diveley will be recognized at the Illinois Principals Association’s annual conference in October.

“This is always a team award,” he said. “I’m thankful for the learning community we have.”

Diveley has been Hadley’s principal for 10 years. Before that, he was a principal at Heritage Grove Middle School in Plainfield.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University.

“To Steve’s credit, he has been willing to take risks to improve student learning and anticipate change,” said Robert Bruno, school board president in Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41. “Steve has been thoughtful and courageous in working with his staff to adopt unfamiliar and yet effective methods.”

Among the criteria for the IPA award are demonstrating a positive impact on children, ensuring a positive school environment, actively implementing school goals and collaborating with the staff and the community.

“He definitely deserves this award,” Hadley eighth grader and student board member Elizabeth Bredfeldt said. “We see Mr. Diveley every day going above and beyond for our students to make sure that they’re successful. We’re so excited for him. This is a great honor for Hadley.”

Hadley recently was named an Illinois Horizon School, and the Illinois Report Card for 2022 listed it as an exemplary school.

While thanking the team at Hadley and throughout the district, Diveley echoed Bruno’s sentiments about risk-taking as a valuable tool in education.

“I think it says a lot about our community when we can take risks and that we have a culture that we can try new things and move in different directions,” Diveley said.