Witherspoon renews contract, will serve as superintendent through 2022


Lia Kelly

Superintendent Witherspoon at the Sept. 21 pep rally.

Sarah Frieman, Executive Editor

Last June, the school board approved superintendent Eric Witherspoon’s contract renewal, extending its expiration year from 2020 to 2022.

“There’s a lot to be done, I love what I do, and I just want to continue pouring all of my energy and heart into this school,” Witherspoon said. “It was the logical, routine time in a superintendent’s contract to renew it.”

By 2022, Witherspoon will have served 16 years as superintendent of ETHS. “He has 30 years of experience in the superintendency,” principal Marcus Campbell said. “I consider him a mentor and a friend and have thoroughly enjoyed working with him.”

In the past couple years, Witherspoon has worked on a wide range of initiatives, including the Year of the Black Male and Evanston Cradle to Career. Many of these initiatives are still in their processing phases, which is another reason Witherspoon wanted to continue his work at ETHS.

“He has definitely been courageous and progressive in pushing us to address areas of inequity in our curriculum,” English teacher Julie Mallory said. Witherspoon first came to ETHS in 2006 after being a superintendent for eight years in a large school district in Des Moines, Iowa.

An early impact Witherspoon made at ETHS was eliminating the tracking system. “He’s done something that no other superintendent has done before him, which is detrack a school that was essentially segregated,” history teacher Kamasi Hill said. “Institutional change is hard… Dr. Witherspoon has pushed the needle. He has created conversations.”

In addition to detracking, Witherspoon has helped make permanent several student support systems over the years, such as study centers and AM support. He has also fostered more space for student-centered conversations around race and equity “The equity work at this school is the most important work I’ve done, and it is the most important work I will continue to do, and it is the biggest challenge,” Witherspoon said. “As we get better at understanding what each student needs, we get better at serving all students.”

As far as his future goals at ETHS go, Witherspoon hopes to build upon the equity work he has started as well as help create a space where students feel as supported as possible.

“I hope one day I’ll be able to look back and say while I was here, it just kept getting better and better,” Witherspoon said.