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Superintendent Spotlight

By:  Madison Moser

As the 2019-2020 school year begins, the Woodlawn School District is experiencing a shift in staff. Mr. Eric Helbig has added to his position as the high school principal and has also become the Woodlawn School District superintendent.


 In a personal interview, Mr. Helbig separated his new duties from the responsibilities of the school board. Mr. Helbig is in charge of day-to-day things. He manages staff, supervises students, and most importantly, works to ensure that staff and students are in a safe environment. Whereas, the school board handles big picture and financial decisions.


His decision to take the position of superintendent was influenced by the length of time that he’s been around our school and community. He’s seen a lot of things come and go in our district, and his insight and experience will serve our school well. Right now, Mr. Helbig is both the district superintendent and the high school principal; the school board has faith that his work ethic will allow him to balance both jobs.


When asked if he plans to do anything differently, he replied with a very confident, “Nope,” and continued to say that, “Things are going well.” Mr. Helbig believes he was left with a great foundation on which to build, and he doesn’t feel the need to change what is already successful.


When asked about the staff evaluation process, he said that teachers are evaluated just as students are. They are evaluated with a specific rubric, and there is a checklist of things that he looks for during evaluation. The evaluation system is a “team decision,” and everyone plays a role in what the evaluation process looks like. When asked about what would happen if a teacher had a weak evaluation score, Mr. Helbig said that he would ensure that the teacher had an opportunity to improve his/her performance. If at a later date it was decided that the teacher still wasn’t improving the learning experience of students, then a different decision would have to be made. That being said, Mr. Helbig believes that Woodlawn’s staff is working for the betterment of the students, and he doesn’t anticipate any problems. When asked, “Should the school district be held accountable for improving the effectiveness of its teachers?”, the question was met with a confident, “Absolutely.” He went on to take responsibility for enforcing the effectiveness of the teachers.


Another topic that was brought up was delegating authority and the best methods to achieve this. His humble response was, “Right now, maybe not so well.” He then went on to say that right now he’s going through a learning experience with his new position, and superintendents of surrounding areas have been really gracious in terms of answering questions and providing some guidance. Things have been moving along very smoothly, however, and there are no doubts that Mr. Helbig will continue to do an exceptional job.


When asked about the financial condition of our district, he said that we are in “pretty good shape,” and that, “The state is providing us with a nice amount of money, and all we can do is hope that they go through with their promises.”


One of the less technical questions asked was, “What makes this job interesting to you?” He replied with, “There’s something new everyday.” Mr. Helbig spent 18 years teaching history, so he’s ready for the change. However, there are times he feels that there aren’t enough hours in the day which can lead to aggravation. For recreation, he enjoys taking time to lift, run, and hike, but like most people, he doesn’t feel that he does any of those things enough.


The interview was concluded with some personal topics, such as life philosophy and commentary on biggest responsibilities outside of his career. Mr. Helbig considers his biggest responsibility outside of his career to be serving as a good role model for others and being both a good co-worker and a good person. As far as life philosophy goes, even though he considers it cliche, his favorite saying is “Carpe diem,” followed by “life is short, and we need to make the most of it.” With those thoughts in mind, Woodlawn School District is fortunate that Mr. Helbig is making the most out of life here, and we thank him for making the most out of Woodlawn’s community schools.


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Woodlawn Schools300 North Central LaneWoodlawn, IL  62898

WHSPH: 618-735-2631Fax: 618-735-2032

WGSPH: 618-735-2661Fax: 618-735-2288

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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