TOLUCA – Jacob Wall is as rooted as anybody as it relates to rural America that harkens back to his childhood days. He grew up in Crescent City, a community with a population of just over 600, situated in Iroquois County, 50 miles north of Champaign.
That should make for a seamless transition as the new Fieldcrest Intermediate Principal (FIP). He was hired in late April to replace Molly Allen, who resigned after six years to accept a position with the Bloomington-based Regional Office of Education for DeWitt, Livingston and McLean Counties.
“I feel like I know these people already,” Wall commented. “I’ve already introduced myself to the major, police chief and city manager. I’ve already spoken to some community groups. I’ve been in contact with some churches. Building these relationships is very important. There’s limited resources in a small town, but it’s my job to use them.”
He also recognizes the presence of a school in a town the size of Toluca, which is just over 1,300.
“It’s the heartbeat of the community,” said Wall. “In a lot of cases, the school is the biggest employer. They’re (residents) looking at seeing what they’re (the school) doing. The nice thing about a school is they’re looking to help. My goal is to continue the relationship between the community and the school.”
Wall graduated from Crescent Iroquois and obtained his bachelor’s degree from Eureka College. He also got his driver’s education certification at Millikin University in Decatur.
Prior to the switch to the administrative side, he taught physical education at both Clifton Central and Germantown Hills. For the past three years, he was the assistant principal at Mossville, which is part of the Chillicothe-based Illinois Valley Central district.
As an assistant principal, Wall was involved in the decision making process, but did not have the final say-so. At FIP, which has students in grades three through six, he will.
“I’ve already developed a good support staff,” he commented. “It seems as we were doing some things at IVC that they’re trying to do here. I feel like I can bring my knowledge from there into here. They’re bouncing ideas off of me and I’m bouncing ideas off of them. I’m not above asking for help.”
According to Wall, FIP is reinstating the snack pack program after a hiatus. He also plans to continue activities such as the muffins for moms and donuts for dads.
“I’d like to see us do a grandparents’ day,” he added. “I’m finding out more and more about things. A lot of community events I’m finding out about.”
In addition, despite his short time on the job, Wall has created a building leadership team, which consists of four teachers, one at each grade level, “to assist in school initiatives.”
He also plans to revert back to his classroom days by being a teacher once or twice during the school year.
When someone mentions Toluca, one of the most obvious and immediate thoughts is top notch Italian dining, highlighted by Capponi’s and Mona’s, located a block from one another along Main Street in the downtown business district.
According to Wall, his family will partake in what he coined, “Take out Tuesday.”
Speaking of family, he resides in Metamora with his wife, Lacy, and two sons, Anders, 3 1/2, and Hagan, who recently celebrated his first birthday.
Classes in FIP and the rest of the district start Aug. 20.