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New Assistant Principal and Dean of Students


Ridgewood Names New Assistant Principal and Dean of Students


Norridge, IL — April 18, 2019 — Earlier this year, our district administration conducted a needs assessment to better support the evolution of building programs and initiatives to further support student learning. The district identified the need for a building Assistant Principal, resulting in the restructuring of the administrative team. Consequently, the Director of Student Services position was eliminated to create the Assistant Principal position.

District 234 is excited to introduce our new Assistant Principal, Gina Castellano (previous Dean of Students), and our new Dean of Students, David Hawk, beginning in the 2019-2020 school year.  

Castellano is currently the Dean of Students here at Ridgewood High School, which she has served as for the past 3 years. She has been at RHS for the past 13 years; 9 as a school counselor and one as Interim Director of Student Services. Before that she was an elementary school teacher for 7 years. Castellano earned a B.S.Ed from Loyola University Chicago, a master of Arts in School Counseling from NEIU and a Master of Arts in School Leadership from Concordia University, Chicago. She is also a National Board Certified Counselor. In her spare time, Castellano loves all things active and hanging out with her husband and three rescue pitbulls.

Castellano is most excited to be able to work with students in a different capacity than she is currently; more collaborative opportunities with colleagues and students.

“The students, by far, are the best part of Ridgewood. I love our conversations whether it be problem solving an issue or discussing something new that is going on in their lives. To get to have more of that, is extremely exciting to me” said Castellano.

Castellano’s promotion created a vacancy in the Dean of Students role, leading to the hiring of David Hawk.

David Hawk is currently the Associate Dean of Students at Niles West High School. He has held this position for the past five years and was the Interim Dean of Students for a year before that. He holds a bachelors in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois-Champaign and a Masters of Arts in School Leadership from Concordia University. His career began as a Physical Education and Health teacher at The Joseph Sears School in Kenilworth, IL. He then became the Assistant Principal at Ivy Hill Elementary School in Arlington Heights, IL. Hawk is open to trying new programs and looking at what education should look like and identifying where there is room for growth for students in social, emotional and educational settings. He has a very unique approach as an administrator and still sees himself as an educator even as dean.

In his spare time, Hawk enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters; ages 5 and 1. He considers himself a “fitness junkie” and tries to involve himself in fitness in any way possible, particularly running marathons. He believes that something can be learned through every experience and is excited to be working in a productive, positive climate.

“Gina and David exemplify Ridgewood’s innovative mindset embedded within a student-centered approach.  I’m excited for these new additions and I am confident they will help Ridgewood continue to make great strides,” said Uhle.

Our candidate pool was extremely competitive and our search produced nearly​ 100 qualified applicants from diverse geographic and professional backgrounds. We are positive that we have identified the right people to represent and carry forward the vision set by the Ridgewood Community.

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