A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Jeff Van Drie

A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Jeff Van Drie

Jeff Van Drie, Principal of Chesterton High School, has traveled the world teaching and making a difference in the lives of his students, and for over twenty years, he has brought his expertise to the students of Northwest Indiana.

Van Drie was born in Lansing, Michigan, but attended high school at Manistee High School in Manistee, Michigan. During his high school career, Van Drie was active in school sports, a passion that continued through and after college.

“I played football, basketball, and ran track,” Van Drie said. “I enjoyed sports and ended up playing football in college. I even coached when I first started teaching.”

After graduating from high school, Van Drie attended Hillsdale College in Michigan, where he studied History. He always had a passion for history growing up and read history books about the Mayan Indians and Russian History, books that would later help him in his worldly travels.

After graduating from college, Van Drie began his teaching career at Jackson High School in Michigan where he stayed for three years until an opportunity arose in Central America.

“I went down to El Salvador and taught at the American School during the 1980’s,” Van Drie said. “While I was there, I met my wife, Katherine, who was stationed down there as a diplomat for the British Foreign Service. We decided to get married and that’s when she was posted to Moscow.”

Van Drie followed his wife to Moscow and began teaching at the Anglo-Amerikanskaya Shkola, or the Anglo-American School of Moscow.

“Interesting enough, two of my favorite areas I liked to study were the Mayan Indians and Russian History,” he explained. “Funny enough, I ended up living in both of those countries for some time!”

The couple stayed in Moscow for two years until Katherine took a leave of absence from the British Foreign Service. That’s when Van Drie began working again back in the States at Wawasee High School in Syracuse, Indiana, followed by River Forest High School in Hobart where he began his school administration career as Assistant Principal, then as Principal of RFHS.

In 2005, Van Drie made his way to Chesterton High School and was named the Assistant Principal, a role he served with dedication for eight years before being named Principal four years ago.

“You know, I taught for 20 years, and I decided that I was ready to try something new,” Van Drie explained.

As Principal of Chesterton High School, Van Drie spends the school days providing environment that is inclusive of all students, safe, and fosters growth in a wonderful learning community like CHS. His job wouldn’t be what it is, however, without the people he sees every day.

“I get to come in everyday and hang out with 2,009 amazing students,” Van Drie said. “And I get to work with 123 amazing teachers and four of the best Assistant Principals in all of Northwest Indiana.”

When Van Drie isn’t running Chesterton High School, he is reading history books and expanding his knowledge of our world.

He and his wife, Katherine, have three children together; Hannah, who just graduated from University of Pennsylvania, Bethany, who just finished her second year at Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles, and James, who just graduated from Chesterton High school this past week!

Along with reading about the world, Van Drie loves to travel around the world.

“My favorite place I have ever been is Tuscany, Italy,” Van Drie said. “My wife is British, so we have been all over England, France, Spain, Dublin, Italy, and so many places.”

Those worldly experiences have helped him become a dedicated school administrator for Chesterton High School. With multiple awards and recognitions for his teaching and administrative career, Jeff Van Drie is surely to go down in the history books for his time in Northwest Indiana.

For more information about Chesterton High School, go to https://www.duneland.k12.in.us/chs.