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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
Following the resignation of Western Superintendent Jessica Funk, Darin Powell has been named the new Western School District Superintendent.
Powell brings to the position over three decades of education experience, including 22 years as a school administrator from 1997 to 2019. After retiring from his position as Hannibal Assistant Superintendent, Powell has taught junior high math for the past three years at Western.
According to Powell, his belief in the power of education led him to return to teaching after retiring from his career as an administrator.
“I still had a passion for kids and wanted to be back in the classroom,” Powell said.
Powell indicated part of his decision to retire from serving as an administrator in 2019 was due to his son’s college football career at Stanford and Indiana University.
“When my son was playing football, we traveled and went to a lot of games,” Powell said. “That commitment didn’t fit with the demands of school administration.”
Powell said that, while his many years of experience will help him hit the ground running as Western’s superintendent, there will be things Powell needs to learn about the regulatory environment in Illinois.
“This is year 33 for me, so I’m not your typical first year superintendent,” Powell said. “The biggest thing for me is learning some of the new financial things and the regulations and mandates in Illinois.”
Powell added that his familiarity with the district will assist him in his transition from middle school math teacher to district superintendent.
“I know the staff already,” Powell said. “So I know how passionate they are about the kids, families and community.”
Powell credits Funk for assisting him move into the superintendent position smoothly and for setting the district up for success.
“Jessica has been phenomenal to work with in this transition,” Powell said. “She set the bar pretty high, and I just hope to continue taking the district in the right direction. I don’t look to be anywhere else. It’s that level of comfort I have with the district, the kids and the community that led me to get back into administration.”