Board appoints Leland Wagner to Pierce Downer School principal position

The Downers Grove Grade School District 58 Board of Education unanimously approved the appointment of Leland Wagner to the Pierce Downer School principal position during the Board’s April 27 meeting. Wagner will begin this new role in July 2020.

“The interview teams described Mr. Wagner as a student-centered, energetic, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, visible and committed leader,” said Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell. “Mr. Wagner comes highly recommended from the interview teams and his many references. We feel very confident that Mr. Wagner will be an asset to the Pierce Downer community!” 

Dr. Russell added that District 58 received a significant amount of interest in this position from many highly-qualified candidates. The interview process comprised rounds of team interviews with staff, parents and administrators. The District also invited teachers, support staff and families to complete surveys regarding what qualities they sought in the next principal of Pierce Downer. 

“Common themes within the surveys highlighted that all groups were seeking a leader who is committed to serving Pierce Downer well into the future, dedicated to children, has strong communication skills, administrative experience, and is confident in the decision-making process,” Dr. Russell said. “We used all of this feedback when selecting the new principal.”

Wagner currently serves as the assistant principal of Concord Elementary School and Cass Junior High School in Cass School District 63 in Darien. In this role, he has successfully implemented curriculum and has numerous district level responsibilities. Additionally, he serves as a special education leader and conducts IEP meetings.

He also has several years of teaching experience at Ridge Lawn Elementary School in Chicago Ridge School District 127.5, and he most recently served as the school’s head teacher.

“I am thrilled to join the Pierce Downer and District 58 community,” Wagner said. “I look forward to building strong relationships with the students, staff and families of Pierce Downer, and I will keep students at the center of all decision-making. I am excited to meet you all!” 

Wagner earned his master’s degree in educational leadership from the American College of Education and his bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from Elmhurst College. He also earned a special education learner behavior specialist 1 (LBS1) endorsement from the University of St. Francis. He is currently pursuing his educational doctorate degree in educational leadership from the University of St. Francis.