With a new school year
nearly under way, District 123’s Paul Enderle has spent the summer months
settling into his new role as superintendent. After 20 years in education – the
last 10 of those years with District 123 as the principal of Oak Lawn-Hometown
Middle School – Enderle is excited to be taking on this new position. He
considers District 123 a family-oriented community and says he is happy to have
his own two children be a part of the district he has learned to call home.
Oak Lawn Patch: It’s apparent from your role at former OLMHS principal that you’ve been here for a while. What drew you to District 123?
Enderle: The people, great people, dedicated, professional people who are "student first" here in this district. That’s a reflection of our community. It’s a reflection of the leadership here in this district, our teaching staff, our board of education. It emanates [through] our school district, and even in my transition into my superintendency, I’ve created a transitional plan. Part of that plan is to hold a number of conversations with primary stakeholders. After doing that and identifying some strengths and also some areas of improvement, resoundingly the greatest strength of our district always comes back to the dedication of our people: how hard they work, how well they work together and how focused they are on helping kids and helping families.
I’m a product of the parochial system. I went to parochial school for elementary school, for high school, for college. I went back to my alma mater at Luther South High School and taught for 10 years, so coming from a parochial setting into a public setting 10 years ago was a big leap for me. …At a [parochial] school, you almost had a very family feel. Coming to 123, that whole feeling never skipped a beat. It was a very family-oriented, community-oriented place.
If you had to pick one goal, what is your main goal as the superintendent?
I think, fostering success. Making sure that our students and our families feel a sense of success, and our students are fully prepared for the challenges that meet them in the future. Keeping learning first, those pieces.
It’s very cool that you’re going from that role as principal of OLHMS to this role as superintendent because you already know so much about the district.
It’s definitely an advantage, knowing families, knowing teaching staff. Just knowing the ins and outs of how the district functions and operates is very much an advantage going in.
What would you say is your favorite thing about the Oak Lawn area?
I feel like Oak Lawn, for a large suburban village close to Chicago, has very much a small-town feel. And again it goes back to one of the reasons I like the school district: I think it’s about the people. I love the people in Oak Lawn. My entire family is here. And like I said, you get a little bit of a small-town feel in relatively a big urban, suburb setting.
What does it mean to you to be an educator?
I got into education primarily because I think there’s value in serving your neighbor and serving your community. I greatly enjoy being a public servant and serving the students, serving the staff. That’s something that through my leadership, I would like to see trickling through our system: that we’re here to partner with parents and with families and to really be a support system within our community. But I think that it all falls under that theme of being a public servant. That’s one of the reasons I got into education. It’s helping people, helping kids, helping a community become better.
What are your hobbies outside of teaching?
I think I’m a very family-oriented person. I like to do a lot with the family. My son’s involved in athletics and sports and doing those types of things. I like doing really any types of sports. Love to read. I like the outdoors, bike riding, fishing, walking, those types of things.
And when you say sports, what’s your favorite sports team?
I like the Blackhawks a lot, I like the Bears, definitely more of a Sox fan, not much of a Cub fan. I’m a true South Sider. I like my White Sox.
Is there anything else you think our readers would like to know?
No, not that I can think of. I just really want to work to continue to make School District 123 a lighthouse district for our community and for the field of education and to be a support system for our families.