HMS sixth-grader takes over for Garcia for a day
Last updated 12/8/2021 at 2:07pm | View PDF
After covering Hinsdale school districts for almost 30 years, I didn't realize how exciting the job of superintendent is until last week.
"It is really, really, really, really fun and cool," said Megan Monteleone, a sixth-grader at Hinsdale Middle School whose parents won the "Superintendent for a Day" item at an Elm School fundraising auction last year.
"I knew he did a lot of stuff in the district, but I wasn't really sure what he did," said Megan, who spent the day with District 181 Superintendent Hector Garcia Friday.
"I saw him at the Rotary Run," she added (modestly omitting the fact that she was the top female finisher in the 3K).
Although Megan said she enjoyed everything about her day, when pressed she chose a trip to the HMS basement as her favorite activity.
"Because no student ever really goes there ever - unless they are going to be in trouble for doing it," she said.
She also enjoyed visiting the Hinsdale Public Library and learning about the secret passageway to village hall. Meeting new people and visiting different schools was fun, too, she noted.
"We didn't even get to meet all the students that I get to see," Garcia said.
The two spent some time talking about the menu offerings at the school cafeteria. Garcia learned the kids prefer hot lunches - like chicken nuggets - over sandwiches or salads.
"We're going to go back and look at how we can incorporate those more and more into our week," he said.
Megan's day including a chat with school board member Sarah Jakobsen, who answered questions about being a board member. She hoped to convey one important point to Megan.
"I think the idea that somebody from the community can have such a significant role in the school district," Jakobsen said.
Garcia said the goal was to give Megan a glimpse at a regular day, but I think that day might have been souped up a bit.
Megan was a special guest at the Hinsdale Rotary Club lunch at The Community House and she was able to see all the equipment at the Hinsdale fire station during a visit there. An interview with the press (yours truly) was also on the schedule.
District 181 communications director Jamie Lavigueur and administrative assistant Jean Duggan accompanied Megan, an assignment they both enjoyed.
"Sometimes when you do something day after day, you forget how special it is and how unique it is and how many people you get to interact with," Lavigueur said. "To see it through the lens of a student reminds you how unique and how much there is to enjoy about the job."
Duggan appreciated how willing people were to have Megan visit.
"They were just so kind and like, 'Yes, thank you so much for asking,' just what a wonderful community that we live in," Duggan said.
Megan left with some great memories and some swag, including an impressive foam Spartan hat, a water bottle, a shirt and a lanyard and official HMS badge.
Garcia said the thing he most enjoyed about serving as host to Megan is the element he enjoys most every day.
"It's always the best part of my job talking to students," he said. "Any time I get a chance to do that, that in and of itself is cool."
- Pamela Lannom is editor
of The Hinsdalean.
Readers can email her at