U of I a 'family university' to alumnus leading Champaign's Barkstall Elementary

by Sal Nudo  /   Jul 24, 2014

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Being from Champaign, Peter Foertsch ’04 Elem. Ed., M.Ed. ’10 EPOL, absorbed early on certain aspects of the vibrant campus life at the University of Illinois.

His positive outlook on the University was also shaped by his parents, as well as his aunts and uncles, all of whom graduated from Illinois.

"The programs put you in touch with textbook procedures and pedagogy that you use in the classroom."

“It’s a legacy,” said Foertsch, whose mom, Debbie, graduated from the College with a master’s degree in elementary and early childhood education in 1985. “The school has a great reputation, and I’m from the area, so it worked out well. It’s kind of like a family university for me.”

Barkstall Elementary School in ChampaignA newly named interim principal at Barkstall Elementary School in Champaign, Foertsch said his degrees from the College prepared him well for a career in teaching and administration.

“The programs put you in touch with textbook procedures and pedagogy that you use in the classroom, and they do a really good job of incorporating an environment for you to observe and practice in,” said Foertsch, who had student-teaching experiences in Urbana and Catlin.

Education never stops, according to Foertsch. He will stay current on the most up-to-date research and practices in his field when he begins his doctorate program in Educational Administration & Leadership this August.

“It’s always really important to keep learning, especially when you’re leading a group of people,” he said.


Foertsch was given a permanent appointment as principal of Barkstall Elementary School on July 1, 2015.

Learn more about Foertsch via a question-and-answer session he partook in with The News-Gazette.