School principal in Westville to take over at Schlarman

School principal in Westville to take over at Schlarman

DANVILLE – A longtime Vermilion County educator has been tapped to lead Schlarman High School.

Robert Rice – an educator for 33 years who's currently principal of St. Mary's School in Westville – will take over as the Schlarman chief on July 1.

He will replace Ray Broderick, who is retiring on June 30 after three years in the job.

"We are very fortunate to have someone of Bob's caliber and experience coming here," said Janet Picillo, Schlarman's director of development.

Picillo said Rice was chosen by a six-member selection committee.

"He has years of experience in the public school system and the Catholic school system," she said. "He's very high energy and very positive. ... He's also the type of person who likes to have fun, but will get the job done."

Rice, 58, of Danville, graduated from Danville High School in 1967. He earned three degrees from Eastern Illinois University: a bachelor's in education in 1971, a master's in education in 1992, and a specialist degree in education in 1999.

He was awarded a Golden Rule Award Certificate of Excellence in Education in 1998. He also has appeared in "Who's Who Among America's Teachers."

Rice started his career in the Georgetown-Ridge Farm School District where he taught math, health and physical education at Mary Miller Junior High and driver's education at the high school, then worked as a junior high administrator. He also coached basketball, track, cross country and baseball at both the junior high and high school levels.

After 24 years, he went to the Danville school district where he served as an assistant principal at Danville High School for four years and as North Ridge Middle School principal for three years.

In 2005, he went to St. Mary's, where he also taught algebra and coached boys' and girls' track.

While he will miss St. Mary's, Rice said, he's eager to go to Schlarman. The school, part of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, has about 200 students and a staff and faculty of about 30.

"I've always respected Schlarman High School," he said.

"And I look forward to the challenges ... like increasing enrollment," he continued, adding he did that at St. Mary's.

While Rice may not have to oversee the lunch room and recess as he sometimes had to do at the grade school, he plans to be actively involved with students.

"I can be a visible presence and have a positive impact on teachers and students," he said. "I like being around the kids. ... I think they'll know I'm here for them."

Rice and his wife, Dianne, have two adult children, both of whom are educators, and five grandsons.

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