Crystal Lake South's principal picked for McHenry West

McHENRY – The principal of Crystal Lake South High School will be moving to McHenry West High School, district officials said.

Marsha Potthoff was one of three candidates to be interviewed, District 156 school board President Steve Bellmore said.

“She’ll be a good fit for the district,” Bellmore said. “I don’t think anyone in the community will be disappointed in who we chose.”

After spending 17 years with District 155, 10 of those as Crystal Lake South’s principal, Potthoff was one of two principals moved to new positions within District 155.

She originally had accepted a role as District 155’s coordinator of grant management and educational services in the district office.

“I thought I was ready, but when this opportunity presented itself to work with kids again, my heart leapt,” Potthoff said, adding that she really likes the McHenry community and its relationship with its schools.

Her husband, Drew Potthoff, was the district’s athletic director, retiring two years ago.

The contract with District 156 has not yet been finalized, Bellmore said, but it will be a one-year contract with a base salary of about $132,000, less than the $155,524 she earned as South’s principal.

Potthoff was recommended by the outgoing principal of West Campus. Mike Roberts was ­chosen to replace retiring Superintendent Gina Swinney.

The two principals have known each other for nearly 20 years, Potthoff said. They worked together at Sycamore High School, and then, they met regularly through monthly gatherings of Fox Valley principals.

“Marsha has a wonderful reputation,” Roberts said. “What reputation are we talking about? She’s very solid with her students. She’s very solid with her staff. She’s of the highest integrity. She represents the Fox Valley very well.”

That reputation also is what stood out to Bellmore.

Potthoff is very hands-on and active in student events, Roberts said, adding that she complements the district’s mission.

“We’re not looking for dynamic changes,” he said. “We believe we’re headed in the right direction. We have a lot to do. She has the same psychology. Marsha really fits what we’re doing. She’s being brought in to enhance what we’re doing, not to make any fundamental changes.”

The school board is always looking to improve ACT scores and bring more Advanced Placement courses to students, and Potthoff gives the district the opportunity to improve on that, Bellmore said.

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