McCombie visits Oregon schools as ‘Principal for the Day’

Oregon Junior/Senior High School Principal Heidi Deininger and State Representative Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) visit with students in one of the hallways at the high school during McCombie's 'Principal for  Day' visit on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023.

OREGON – Oregon Junior/Senior High School Principal Heidi Deininger made sure she got her “steps” in Sept. 20 with a special tagalong guest in tow.

Deininger gave a tour of the schools with state Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, following along as part of the “Principal for the Day” program sponsored by the Illinois Principals Association.

Deininger escorted McCombie through the halls and into classrooms in the morning, including a jaunt to Landers-Loomis Field to watch the OHS Marching Band practice.

“I am all about checking steps,” said Deininger as she led McCombie from the high school to the field. “And I know that it is 800 steps to the field, but I really want you to see our marching band practicing today. They are working on their halftime show for homecoming, and it is really good.”

After a short visit at the school district office with Superintendent Tom Mahoney, OJSHS Assistant Principal Shannon Creemens and Jason Leahy, executive director of the Illinois Principals Association, Deininger and McCombie walked the halls at the two schools and Blackhawk Center.

Creemens took Leahy on a separate tour of the school while Deininger and McCombie headed to the ag shop.

McCombie visited several classrooms and chatted with students in the hallway as they passed to classes.

“Overall, the facility is great. All the kids I happened to walk by were fantastic. They were very kind, respectful and the teachers were very welcoming,” she said after the 90-minute tour. “It was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am looking forward to coming back.”

In a news release from McCombie’s office, an official from the Illinois Principals Association explained the reason for the program.

“Principal for a Day is a great way for our members to build relationships with policymakers and for legislators to experience the rewards and challenges of school leadership,” said Alison Maley, government and public relations director at the Illinois Principals Association. “We consistently encourage IPA members to reach out to their local legislators and serve as a resource when it comes to education policy. As a result, we hope that legislators keep these experiences and connections in mind as they develop and consider new legislation that will affect students and staff.”

“Visiting Oregon High School today was an incredible experience to see firsthand how educators are shaping young students, and I especially enjoyed hearing more about their innovative programs, including agricultural technology, which are facilitating viable skills in these students that will pay great dividends to our community and the state of Illinois,” McCombie said in the release.

McCombie plans to continue school visits throughout the fall, with visits planned to a handful of schools throughout the 89th District in coordination with the Illinois Principals Association.

“The program is also an opportunity for principals and other administrators to build and refine their relationship with the representative, express their concerns and listen to updates about education-related legislation heading to the state legislature,” according to the release. “The “Principal for the Day’ program is extremely active in Rep. McCombie’s 89th District, and today’s visit is the first of several she will complete throughout the fall. The program allows McCombie to tour the school building, engage with students and teachers, and learn about new programs offered.”

Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 8 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.