New Monroe principal is right in her element

The box of British biscuits and wall-mounted “BELIEVE” sign in Erin Eder’s office leaves little doubt as to her favorite fictional soccer coach.

The “Ted Lasso” tribute is courtesy of her colleagues in celebration of Principal Appreciation Week. Eder feels the love, as she long has in the school setting, dating back to when her childhood school doubled as her mom’s workplace.

“School always felt like an extension of home. The teachers that I was in class with were also at our house on weekends,” she said. “School has always felt like a family.”

The daughter of two educators is now leading her own school after being appointed principal of Monroe earlier this year. Eder said that feeling of familiarity is reminiscent of her youth.

“I am drawn to the neighborhood schools, the close-knit staff and teams, and really that family involvement that we have here,” she said.

She began with Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 in 2012 as a psychologist. Two years ago she became pupil services administrator for Monroe and The Lane. Eder said that shift to administration whet her appetite to ascend to the principal’s office one day.

“The ability to serve more of the students in the building, to have a bit of a broader scope and to be able to connect more on a daily basis with students and families,” she said.

The prospect of being anchored to one school also was appealing.

“I’d always gone between two schools, and I was becoming more and more drawn to putting down anchors in one,” she said. Eder said her background informs her approach to serving the spectrum of student needs.

“Through the evaluation process with students, I have observed in hundreds of classrooms,” she said. “The benefit of that is getting to see all the wonderful things that are happening from the teachers in the building and to see what really good instruction looks like.”

In her previous positions she worked to discern an individual student’s strengths and areas in which he or she needed additional support.

“My goal and focus in this role is, to the greatest extent possible, replicate that for every student in the building, to know where our students are at currently and how can we continue to help them grow academically, social-emotionally, and generally as good people,” she said.

With her own three kids involved in competitive activities, the Eder family tends to stay in motion.

“We are glorified Ubers on the weekends,” she quipped. “Coaching, cheering, watching youth sports. When I’m not (at Monroe) around kids, I am at home, surrounded by my own. It is so crazy and it is also so fun.”

Her brother is a middle school principal and her husband, Drew, is an administrator at Lyons Township High School.

“It’s like the family business,” Eder said with a laugh.

And one she feels validated in pursuing.

“It has been such a wonderful start to the school year. I could not feel more supported or more confident in the decision to shift into this principal role,” she said. “The best parts of every day are the interactions with kids and seeing them excited to walk in the door and leave with smiles on their faces.”

— story by Ken Knutson, photo by Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean