Hinsdale principal enjoying life, for a good reason
New Principal Casey Godfrey talks with parents outside of The Lane School in Hinsdale. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Name: Casey Godfrey
Favorite book as a kid: Where the Red Fern Grows
Favorite TV shows as a kid: “The Smurfs,” “The Cosby Show”
Favorite current TV show: “Modern Family”
Spent a lot of time as a kid: in the principal’s office. “It was never for anything really bad.”
Updated: November 26, 2012 2:17AM
HINSDALE — The new principal at The Lane School is thoroughly enjoying his new job. And he’s grateful in many ways for having the opportunity to replace the very popular Doug Eccarius, who now is an administrator in Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181.
Casey Godfrey, 35, has eight years experience as a principal. His most recent job was a three-year stint in St. Louis.
“I wasn’t unhappy in my job there, but I decided I wanted to look around for a job at a smaller school,” Godfrey said. “Building relationships with students and parents is so important to me, and that was hard to do in the school I came from because it had about 1,000 students. I felt more like I was in a large corporation.”
Godfrey emailed District 181 Superintendent Renee Schuster, with whom he had worked for a year in St. Louis. He was askin for a letter of recommendation, but learned about the opening at The Lane.
“She offered no guarantees about anything; just the suggestion to apply,” Godfrey said.
Five years ago, Godfrey didn’t know if he was going to continue living, let alone continue working as a school principal. He was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder that causes the immune system to attack the peripheral nervous system and can cause paralysis.
Godfrey was in a drug-induced coma for 1 ½ months, had some paralysis and had to re-learn some basic physical function.
“I was told by the doctor that I would never walk again without the help of a walker or a cane,” he said.
That prognosis motivated Godfrey to make the doctor a liar.
“I was never a runner before, but decided I was going to run a marathon,” he said.
Godfrey has now completed eight marathons, in many cases to raise money for Guillain-Barre syndrome research.
“They say I’m a miracle, he said. “I have to be very proactive with my health, so I eat well and exercise.”
Focusing on not letting stress affect him also is a priority for Godfrey.
“Stress can be a trigger for this disease,” he said. “I try to be very easygoing, and while being a principal can be stressful, I just love working at this school.