H-F Under New Leadership

2021 school year starts with new administration


Veronica Hamaguchi

Scott Wakely in a meeting discussing finances.

This year, H-F has a new principal and a new superintendent-elect.

H-F superintendent Von Mansfield is retiring after this year with over 30 years at H-F under his belt. Former superintendent of districts 307, 155 and 424, Scott Wakely, will be taking his place.

Mansfield is using this year to mentor superintendent-elect Scott Wakely, and is confident in Wakely’s ability to lead District 233.

“I think [Wakely] will bring some additional experiences from his previous districts as a superintendent,” Mansfield said.  

Wakely has 17 years of experience as a superintendent in different districts, while Mansfield was principal at H-F before becoming superintendent.

“I think he’ll be different in that he’ll bring some additional ideas and some additional programming that I hope will be very useful for our students and staff.”

Mansfield also emphasized the importance of diversity and choice at H-F, in all aspects of school.

According to Mansfield, a value that is important for H-F leadership to hold is to provide “all those things that have helped students reach their full potential, and if that’s in journalism, or theatre, or athletics, clubs, or just being a student here, is that we have lots of opportunities.”

Adding, “I hope the value of diversity in selection, and diversity in option, and diversity in student body makes a difference for our kids, and [Mitchem] continues to perpetuate what all that means in terms of pulling those things together.”

H-F’s previous principal, Dr. Jerry Anderson, has since moved over to Bloom High School.

James Mitchem Jr. is serving as this year’s Interim Principal while the search for next year’s principal continues.

Freshman Adeyemi Kasali hopes that our next principal will continue to emphasize the importance of options and diversity in choices.

“I think that one of the best things that H-F offers its students is a wide array of options for athletics, academics, and extracurriculars,” said Kasali. “I hope that whoever the H-F administration decides to hire as our new principal recognizes the value of this, and will continue to try and enrich those programs.”

Since Mitchem will only be here this year, he does not plan to make any long-term or drastic changes to H-F.

Mitchem’s goal is to make an easier transition for H-F’s next principal and to keep in place what the school already has.

James Mitchem Jr. at work in his H-F office.

“As an interim, I really don’t have any long-term, strategic responsibilities, so I really just hope to accomplish maintaining the goals, and the initiatives, and the vision, and the mission that’s set for the school,” said Mitchem.

Mitchem also thinks that H-F will not be greatly impacted by this change in leadership and that the transition will be smooth.

“I’m assuming Dr. Wakely will probably maintain the status quo while, at the same time, putting his own stamp on Homewood-Flossmoor, and they will probably hire a principal that will basically maintain the status quo, but at the same time make the changes that they feel are necessary to make the place better than it already is.”

The Board of Education plans to find a permanent principal for the 2022-23 school year, with help from the community in the form of surveys and focus groups.