District Directory

Mr. Carter

Morton Junior High
Subject: Principal

As the Principal here at Morton Junior High School, it is my privilege to serve the Morton-Groveland community. I have been here at Morton Junior High School since 2006 after spending nine years at Tri-Valley Middle School as a 6th Grade Language Arts, Reading and Social Studies teacher and basketball and track coach.

As a life-long Central Illinois resident, I graduated from Eureka College in 1997 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in elementary education and a middle school endorsement. While I was at EC, I played basketball and was fortunate to be a member of the National Championship team in 1994. I also graduated from Illinois State University in 2006 with a Master’s degree in Educational Administration.

My wife, Stacy, teaches kindergarten at Starke Primary School in Pekin. We have three children: Abby, Ben, and Katy.

We love being part of this wonderful community and enjoy meeting our Junior Potter families. Please stop by the school any time! My door is always open!

Ms. Horchem

Lincoln Elementary
Subject: Principal

Thank you for taking time to visit the Lincoln Elementary School website. I consider it a privilege to serve the students, families and teachers of Lincoln School and the Morton-Groveland community. I grew up in Morton and am a proud graduate of Morton High School. A little background about my professional path that brought me back to Morton…I attended Illinois State University, obtaining undergraduate degrees in Mass Communication and Elementary Education. I taught sixth grade for seven years at Northwest School in Lincoln. While there, I pursued a Master’s Degree in Administration, also from Illinois State. I began my administrative career at Thomas Metcalf School in Normal, working as assistant principal and athletic director for four years. For the next nine years, I worked as principal at Midland Elementary School, a Pre-K to 4th grade school in the rural community of Lacon. I truly consider it such an honor to now serve as your principal, in the community where I was raised and where my family continues to reside. I will strive to maintain open, direct communication with parents and families, create a positive school environment for our teachers and students and provide a welcoming setting for all families and stakeholders who visit our school. I encourage parents and families to become involved in all of the wonderful activities at our school. As parents, you are the key to your child’s success, and I thank you in advance for all that you will do to contribute to your child’s academic and emotional success this year. I know that you will work collaboratively with our teachers and staff members, while I have high expectations for me, our teachers and faculty to provide the best educational experience possible for your child. Please know that I am always available to meet with you, communicate via email or talk with you about any concerns or suggestions you wish to share or discuss. (Well…except on Sundays during football season, when I am watching and cheering on my beloved Green Bay Packers!!

Please stop in to introduce yourself and say hello…my door is always open!


Julie Horchem

Ms. Rickenberg

Assistant Director- Student Support Services/Principal
Morton 709 District
Morton Academy
Subjects: Assistant Director- Student Support Services, Principal

Ms. Ripka

Morton High
Subject: Principal

Mrs. Deidre Ripka is the Principal at Morton High School. She spent her formative years as a Lady Pretzel at Freeport High School in Freeport, Illinois. She attended Western Illinois University as an elementary education major, Golden Apple Scholar, and a member of the women’s basketball team. She taught 8th grade Language Arts at Central Junior High in Kewanee, Illinois, and was also a girls basketball coach at Kewanee High School. While teaching, Mrs. Ripka earned her MS in School Counseling at WIU. In 2005, she moved into the Counseling Office at Morton High School and became the Director of Counseling in 2007. She earned her Educational Leadership certificate from Bradley University in May 2013 and was an assistant principal and dean for three years.

Mrs. Ripka and her husband live in Morton with their children, Izzy and Anderson. In her free time she enjoys watching her kids play sports, cooking, and being active outdoors.

Mr. Saunders

Ward Grundy
Subject: Principal

I was born and raised in Fort Madison, Iowa. I graduated from Aquinas High School in 1986 and began my post-secondary education at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. After two years, I transferred to the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in elementary education in 1991. Trina and I were married that summer and moved to the Quad-Cities. I taught 5th grade in Bettendorf, Iowa for one year and 4th grade in Clinton, Iowa for six years. I graduated from Western Illinois University with a Master's Degree in educational administration in 1997. I served as the principal of Jefferson Elementary School in Harvard, Illinois from 1998-2002 before coming to Grundy.

In 2016, I completed the Superintendent Endorsement Program at Illinois State University. The 2022-2023 school year marks my 32nd year in public education, 7 years as a teacher and 25 years as a principal.

Beyond the world of education, we are actively involved at Cornerstone Baptist Church, enjoy attending our kids' activities, and love spending time with family and friends. Trina and I have been blessed with four beautiful children. Our daughter Katie and her husband Jacob live in Normal, IL where she works as a labor and delivery nurse at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center and he works as an accountant at State Farm Insurance Company. They have a one-year-old son named Eli. Our daughter Rachel is a junior at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ studying exercise science. Our son Caleb is a sophomore at Morton High School and participates in soccer and track. And our son Joshua is a 7th grader at Morton Junior High School and participates in cross country and band. We love Grundy School and are very proud to call the Morton School District our home!

Ms. Waterfield

Lettie Brown
Subject: Principal

I have been honored to serve as the principal and to work with the students, staff, and parents of the Lettie Brown community since July 2012.  After graduating from Illinois State University, I began my career in education as a social sciences teacher at Prairie Central High School in Fairbury, Illinois.  After teaching high school for three years, I returned to school to achieve my masters degree in the field of social work at the University of Illinois.  I was employed as a school social worker with Morton CUSD 709 for thirteen years before being appointed the principal of Lettie Brown.  I completed my administrative certificate from Bradley University in May 2006.  I truly consider it an honor and blessing to serve as the leader of Lettie Brown, and my family and I are thankful to be members of a community that places a high value on education. 

Mission for the School:   Mrs. Waterfield's mission for Lettie Brown is to make safety a top priority, to continually promote a positive school culture, to encourage collaboration and commitment among all stakeholders, and to help each student reach his/her maximum potential.  Truly, each student is a blessing, and he/she makes a special and unique imprint on the halls of Lettie Brown!




Ms. Wyman

Jefferson Elementary
Subject: Principal