Klover returns to Reed-Custer High School as principal

CHAD KLOVER is the new principal at RCHS. Klover is a hometown educator, who graduated from RCHS in 1998.

Marney Simon

When Chad Klover earned his diploma from Reed-Custer High School in 1998, he knew that he never wanted to travel too far away from his Alma Mater.

After earning a degree from the University of St. Francis, Klover spent three years teaching at Joliet Central, and then earned his Masters Degree/Type 75 certification from Governor’s State University.

And then, Mr. Klover came home.

He returned to RCHS for eight years as an educator, teaching government, economics and history, and then spent the last 10 years as the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director at RCMS.

But when high school Principal Tim Ricketts retired at the end of the 2022-2023 school year, the opportunity opened up for Klover to return to the high school setting. As classes resumed this month, students were greeted by Klover as the new RCHS principal.

“I never want to leave Reed-Custer, I would only move a spot if it was the right situation. Ten years ago, I was ready to make the plunge,” Klover said. “I enjoyed my 10 years at Reed-Custer Middle School, but my heart has always been at Reed-Custer High. To me, it’s a blessing to be here, I’m super excited about this. I love all the kids but I definitely, when it comes to being involved in their education, I really love high school kids. I just thought it was a good fit, being in the community, a good chance for me to give back to the community for hopefully the rest of my career.”

While everyone knows the old adage of being “sent to the principal’s office,” Klover said his real job behind the administrator’s desk is to make sure the school as a whole is successful, in all aspects.

“A big part is, we’re here to support everybody,” Klover said. “That’s my mindset, we’re here to support kids, we’re here to support teachers and staff, give them what they need to be successful. Any success we have isn’t because of me, it’s because of what everybody else does. Because the most important thing that happens in a school is right there in the classroom. It’s not in my office, it’s what goes on everyday in class.”

In addition to supporting students and staff, Klover’s duties include selecting and evaluating educators, curriculum selection, and overall structural and organizational responsibilities.

“But the number one thing is just being here for people, supporting them and responding to what they need,” he said.

Klover said that his time at RCMS helped prepare him for the transition to the principal’s chair at the high school.

“It’s a people business,” he said. “Being an assistant principal, you definitely have a lot of people coming to you, whether it’s parents or teachers or students. I still want to be approachable, I still want to be someone that people can come to... Thinking like an administrator, thinking big picture, that was the biggest transition from teacher to administrator, you have to think about the whole building, all the kids, all the classrooms. Being an assistant principal helped with that [and also] having relationships with various groups of people.”

Klover also said that as he starts with the high school, he gets to see how this year’s seniors—who were eighth graders in 2020—have grown since the pandemic changed the face of education back when they were his students at RCMS.

“It’s getting to see the kids, coming back and seeing those upper classmen,” Klover said about things he’s looking forward to this year.

As far as his goals as an administrator, Klover said his priority will always be to aim to create positive experiences for everyone inside the walls of RCHS.

“We have a large crop of new teachers, so we want to make sure that they’re comfortable and have what they need, that they feel supported and they have a good experience and they are the best teachers they can be here,” he said, adding that he will work with veteran staff to make sure the newcomers feel supported.

“Another goal is just providing the best experience for kids as we can,” Klover continued. “In the classroom, out of the classroom, sports, clubs, activities, course offerings. We did add a couple of new dual credit courses this year, so we’re always looking to expand in that area, working with JJC. We want to make sure that those courses go well.”

Klover said he looks forward to leaving his own stamp on the high school, just as the principals before him have done.

“For me personally, just making it my own,” he said. “It’s a simple goal, but putting my own brand on it and just trying to make sure I’m connecting with the community and parents to keep them involved. It can be tough for a high school parent... Your kids are growing up and you want them to take ownership of their education, but we still want parents involved... I feel like I’m a positive person, and it can be really hard to deal with negative stuff. There will certainly be some negative things I’ll have to deal with in this role, but I get to do a lot more of the praising, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Klover lives in Braidwood with his wife of 18 years, Megan, and their children Wybrant, a second grader at RCES, and Hattie, who started pre-K at RCES this year.

And Klover said being a Comet himself—one who even remembers his RCHS locker assigment—makes a difference in how he approaches the new position as principal.

“Reed-Custer is so important to me, I think I’ll probably put in that little extra effort because it is my home town,” Klover said. “I’d like to think that I bleed black and gold. The people who want to come back and work here have the same motives, because they love this place. I just think it’s something about your hometown, something about that familiarity of growing up and loving the place that you live and having a good experience when you were growing up that makes you want to give back to the community.”