Huntley High School Principal has made an impression—on his school, community, and profession—since coming to Huntley in 2018.
He can be seen, well, just about everywhere. From riding his hoverboard through the long hallways of HHS to spreading school spirit on Instagram to sharing leadership lessons with his peers via his podcast, Dr. Belin is highly visible. And he’s ok with that.
After all, part of why he decided on a career in education was to serve as a positive role model to young people.
“I’m not afraid or ashamed of putting myself out there or just being who I am. There are kids who think it is super corny or there are kids who think it is the greatest thing ever,” he said.
In addition to his students, Dr. Belin’s unabashed embrace of enthusiasm has earned him the admiration of his colleagues and attention of the media.
In 2020, Dr. Belin was named Principal of the Year for the Illinois Principals Association Kishwaukee Region. He was also elected as the President of the IPA starting the next year, and has served on Congresswoman Lauren Underwood’s Education Advisory Committee since its founding.
In 2020-21, Dr. Belin served on the Illinois State Board of Education’s Black History Curriculum Task Force. The task force was composed of educators from throughout the state, with a goal to make recommendations to the State Board regarding the teaching of Black history in schools.
“What we want to get to is, across the state, everyone is receiving at least this foundational knowledge and understanding of Black history. How do we allow kids to see themselves in the curriculum that is being taught?” he said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Dr. Belin not only led the school’s response, but also went out of his way, literally, to recognize graduates of the Class of 2020. When their traditional graduation ceremony was cancelled, he hopped aboard a bus to hold more than 500 individual ceremonies in the driveways of his students.
After learning about his efforts, National-Louis University returned the favor, holding a surprise ceremony to present his with his doctoral degree, which he finished in 2020.
It was in during the difficult days of the 2020-21 school year that he turned his attention to a new medium—podcasting—to spark conversations around the challenges school administrators faced in relation to the pandemic.