The Glen Bard

The student news site of Glenbard West High School

The Glen Bard

The Glen Bard

From Student to Principal: the Journey of Mr. Peterselli

Photo provided by Mr. Peterselli.

After decades of hard work and dedication, Glenbard West’s very own Mr. Ben Peterselli became Principal of the very school he attended not so long ago. 

Mr. Peterselli was in the same classrooms and halls as us students. The new Principal “attended West in the mid 90s,” and by his own accord was a “decent student” who was extremely involved with his school. “I played football, basketball, and baseball,” he recalled, as well as being a member of West’s choir program. By his Senior year, Peterselli was “Varsity in 2 sports” while commanding a sizable amount of respect for his position in the choir. Peterselli, like many of us, also made infrequent trips to the deans; his Dean, Mr. Monaghan, would later become a close friend and mentor to Peterselli. 

Mr. Peterselli would pursue higher education at the University of Kansas. In our interview, he highlighted the both interesting and now-hilarious idea that he “didn’t anticipate ever coming back” to West. However, by his Sophomore year, Peterselli had selected to join Kansas’ School of Education, choosing to focus on English. Our Principal highlighted that he enjoys most subjects, “English, Science, etcetera,” but truly found English as his calling. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in English/Language Arts Teacher Education, Mr. Peterselli also pursued a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, completed in 2004. 

Once completing higher education, Mr. Peterselli spent nearly a decade teaching at Wheaton North, also coaching football. Once Glenbard West, his alma mater, had an opening for an English Department Chair Peterselli jumped on the opportunity. The English Department Chair was nothing short of a “dream job” for him! At this time, Mr. Peterselli was also reunited with his former dean, now Dr. Monaghan, who Peterselli described as a “mentor.” They would work even closer together once Mr. Peterselli became the Assistant Principal for Instruction at West- where, as Mr. Peterselli described it, he was “nudged” by Dr. Monaghan to undertake the role of Principal as Monaghan’s tenure seemed to be coming to an end. 

Mr. Peterselli describes the transition to becoming principal as “weird,” in a way, to “advance through the ranks at the same school,” while also being “pretty great” (Peterselli remarked joyously). “I’ve never wanted to leave West since I got here,” he described, “and I’ve built great relationships here.” Mr. Peterselli also described some of the more fundamental hardships of being principal, explaining that “if something lands on the Principal’s desk, no one along the way could navigate it making it the most complex”; however, as later discussed, Peterselli seemed more than willing to help in any way possible to better West. 

Over the past year – especially prior to Mr. Peterselli’s administration – Glenbard West has overcome significant challenges, including multiple swatting attempts; different challenges will be present over the coming years, with the newly implemented ‘Glenbard Hour’ this year and a proposed Block Schedule being implemented in the next (as well as significant multi-million dollar projects expanding the building). In response to the swatting threats, Mr. Peterselli described to me that although “the threats are out of our control, how we respond to them is.” “We have worked closely with the Glen Ellyn police department,” Mr. Peterselli continued, with the goal to “feel ready” if any threats ever were to become present again. Peterselli also seemed more than happy to overcome schedule and building changes to West, proclaiming that his responses to every new obstacle has the student’s best interest “at heart”- and that if anything were to conflict with the student’s best interest, changes would be made. 

When asked if he wanted to leave Glenbard West’s students with anything, Mr. Peterselli stated the following: “we’re going through a couple of years of significant change […] through that change, the thing that Glenbard West does well will not go away and the administration here will be as responsive as we can to change. The goal of all of this change is student wellness- we will listen to our students and staff.”

The Glen Bard, as well as the rest of Glenbard West looks forward to seeing one of our own students lead us, and throughout any change or obstacle- we know Mr. Peterselli has our back. 

More to Discover
About the Contributor