Deerfield Welcomes Mr. Hengels, New Fine and Applied Arts Department Chair


Image Courtesy of Mr. Hengels

Zach Stutland, Staff Writer

With recent changes being made to Deerfield’s administration for 2022, Deerfield should be extremely excited to welcome the high school’s new Fine and Applied Arts Department chair, Mr. Hengels. While this is his first year at DHS, Mr. Hengels has been in education for 22 years prior to coming to Deerfield. He spent a large portion of that time teaching middle school, then moved to teaching high school theater and English. 

Deerprints got a chance to speak with Mr. Hengels about what got him into pursuing a career in teaching fine and applied arts. While studying at Eastern Illinois University, Hengels worked a job in theatrical set construction. Hengels explained that “One day the shop foreman stopped me and said, ‘Hey, you’re really good at this, have you ever considered going into education?’” This passion for theater in the arts led Mr. Hengels to where he is today. The arts have surrounded Mr. Hengels his entire life. “They were the only thing I was ever good at,” he said. 

Mr. Hengels also expressed his excitement upon getting to work with his new colleagues in the Fine Arts Department. He stressed how important it is to build a team of educators who are trained not only to teach a certain subject matter, but have experience in their own creative fields as well. “[Our teachers] have real practical knowledge they’re imparting to you guys, that’s huge.” He spoke about teachers such as art and photography instructor, Mr. Sykora, who has given TED talks about creativity. Having educators with experience like this, Hengels said, is able to “Drive stuff and empower them to make their programs unique.” To Hengels, the staff’s renowned experience sets the Deerfield fine arts program apart from other schools as the teachers here.  

When asked about what he would like to bring to DHS moving forward, Mr. Hengels explained how he plans to operate future systems in the department from an administrative perspective. His goals are to be able to resource and support the fine and applied arts educators and deliver the materials necessary for them to do their jobs efficiently and effectively. Hengels wants to “bring a sense of visibility and assurance” to the program. He believes communicating with teachers to provide them with the resources they need is the best way to operate as administrative oversight. 

Deerprints also spoke with other teachers in the department on how they felt about the switch in administration. “Mr. Hengels is a team player… I feel unbelievably supported,” said graphic design teacher Mr. Moran. Moran also said that “He’s really been able to break things down for me,” He emphasized that Mr. Hengels has helped him to become more articulate in presenting the information he wants to teach. 

While changes in administration can sometimes offset how curriculum is taught, without a doubt, those involved in the DHS arts department can be certain that this change is a welcome one. Mr. Hengels is overwhelmingly excited about getting to work with Deerfield’s Fine and Applied Arts team. His experience and passion for the arts and the world around them will assuredly provide a welcomed prosperity in the Arts Department at Deerfield High School.