ROCHELLE – Travis McGuire walks the walk and talks the talk.
The Rochelle Township High School principal doesn't just encourage teachers to put students first. He show them how to do it.
McGuire, 36, often is seen helping students with their math homework, guiding class discussions, and attending extracurricular events.
"I think your actions speak louder than words," he said. "I believe everything I say to my faculty and students, I need to be modeling. ... I'm not just saying, 'This is a best practice.' I'm actually getting in and doing those things."
McGuire, a former Reagan Middle School principal, has been named the High School Principal of the Year of the Northwest Region by the Illinois Principals Association.
He was nominated by Kevin Zilm, retired principal of Rochelle Elementary School, and chosen from among principals in JoDaviess, Stephenson, Carroll, Whiteside, Lee and Ogle school districts.
McGuire is eligible for the Illinois Principal of the Year honor, which is announced in the spring.
"This is a tremendous honor for him and for [the school]," Superintendent Jamie Craven said in a news release announcing the award. "Any time you are recognized by your professional peers, those who understand the nuances and true challenges that go with your job, it is special."
McGuire doesn't know what set him apart from dozens of other principals in the area; in fact, he believes the award belongs to the school more than it does to him.
"I will never know," he said Tuesday. "I don't view myself as someone who is better than others. I just think it's a lot of the different things that we've put in place for our students to help support them in their achievement."
But Elizabeth Freeman, former curriculum director, knows why her colleague received the honor.
"He knows the meaning of 'collaborative leadership' and demonstrates it on a daily basis," she said in the news release. "He works tirelessly to motivate students to perform at their personal best. He supports and encourages teachers and school leadership to be student-centered.
"Travis is a practitioner who brings out the best in those around him."
McGuire joined the high school in 2007, after being principal at Reagan, assistant principal at Dixon High School, and a teacher at Sterling High School. He is a graduate of Sterling High School.
McGuire and his wife, Keri (Jaques) McGuire, also a Sterling graduate, have 8-year-old twins, Ella and Elliot. McGuire is active in his church, coaches Little League, flag football and basketball, and is an avid cyclist and runner. He also is an accomplished musician.