Mahomet Seymour

After 169 straight Sundays of asking local leaders about their philosophy on meetings, we have a winner.

Here’s MEGAN HUNTER, the no-mincing-words principal at Mahomet’s Lincoln Trail Elementary: “Any meeting without food is an email.”

Spoken like someone with a school to run, a lengthy to-do list and not enough hours in the day to get through it all.

Born in Evansville, Ind., raised in a tiny town in southeastern Illinois and educated at Southern Illinois-Carbondale, the two-degree Saluki is in her fourth year as principal at Lincoln Trail.

Jason’s wife of going-on-15 years and seventh-grader Katie’s mom, a 2020 member of Central Illinois Business Magazine’s Forty under 40 class, took time out to answer questions from Editor Jeff D’Alessio in the 169th installment of our weekly speed read spotlighting leaders of organizations big and small.

The three adjectives I hope my staff would use to describe me are … supportive, student-centered and grateful.

When it comes to my single favorite moment in this job … the first day of school every year is a special kind of magic.

It’s the look on the kids’ faces when they see a friend they haven’t seen in awhile. The anticipation of seeing who is in their class this year. The nervousness of a new student that you see fade away when they meet their teacher.

Seeing the new relationships form from Day 1 is a pretty powerful thing.

The hardest thing about being a leader is ... finding the time to do everything you want to do and accomplish all that you want to accomplish.

My one unbreakable rule of the workplace is … have the necessary conversations.

I can’t live without my ... coffee.

On my office walls, you’ll find … shiplap wallpaper that my husband helped me hang.

My professional role model is ... Dr. Elizabeth Lewin. She is a former superintendent that taught me so much when I was one of her students in graduate school.

She taught me so much about the principalship and leadership but even more about having an impact and the greater good.

She is a role model in every sense and I still pick up the phone and call her.

I’m frugal in that … I read a lot but I don’t like buying books. I’m a public library patron all the way.

I probably have a request on hold that I need to pick up.

If I could trade places for a week with any other business person in town, I’d gladly switch with … John Howard, director of the Mahomet Public Library, so I could move myself up in line for a couple books I’ve been waiting to read.

I wind down after work by … checking in with my husband and daughter about their day.

The last luxury in which I indulged was ... my husband and I going to Napa to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary.

The most beneficial college class I took was … School Law when I was in graduate school at SIU in Carbondale. It was co-taught by Dr. Lewin and Dr. Caldwell.

The best part of the class was when they would give us a scenario and we would have to analyze and discuss the issue and potential resolutions from all the legal angles. Dr. Caldwell is an attorney so he was tough but I loved every minute of it.

I’m up and at ’em every day by … 3 a.m. I don’t need an alarm clock. I have my little dog, Dolly, for that.

My exercise routine consists of … going for a long run when it is warm. Maybe six or seven miles.

My favorite running weather is the hot days of summer. I could run for forever on those days. My mind says that but my legs definitely don’t.

When the weather doesn’t allow for that or it’s still dark outside, I’m on the treadmill or Peloton by 4 a.m. for about an hour.

As far as the worst job I’ve ever had goes ... honestly, I’ve never had a job that I didn’t like. I guess the worst was mowing our lawn as a kid because I’m allergic to the bushes that surrounded our house.

On a 1-to-10 scale, the impact of the pandemic has been an ... 8. Our students are still struggling with attendance, loss of learning, loss of stamina and social skills post-pandemic.