ETHS administration, school board conduct formal superintendent search


In September of 2021, Superintendent Eric Witherspoon announced his retirement, effectively opening the role of District 202 Superintendent for the 2022-2023 school year. Shortly after Witherspoon’s announcement, a formal search for his replacement commenced. 

“I’m one of the point people for the search. I am doing it along with the vice president of the school board, Monique Parsons. The two of us are the point people from the board, so we are in regular communication with the search firm,” District 202 school board president Pat Savage-Williams said.

In early January, both Savage-Williams and Parsons sent a survey to Evanston residents in an attempt to gather information about what community members value in a new superintendent. The survey closed on Jan. 31 Questions focused on what people believed ETHS has done well and what they want to see improve. The ETHS board partnered with the Alma Advisory Group in order to collect data from both the survey and focus groups.

“We’re going to take the information from the survey, along with the information from the focus groups that we receive, and we’re going to use all of that to create a profile of what the community would look for in a new superintendent,” Savage-Williams said. 

In the next few weeks, the results of the survey and focus groups will be gathered. This information will be addressed in the school board meetings in March. The meeting will decide how to proceed in the search process, taking into account the concerns of the student body. 

“[In a superintendent], I would like to see someone who understands the importance of communication. Saying you ‘hear’ the student body is one thing, but clearly communicating that you’ve listened makes it clear that what we have to say is important to the people in charge,” sophomore Eleanor Macek said. 

One challenge in this type of search is identifying candidates who will fit in at ETHS

“I am concerned that a new superintendent will struggle to find their way in the community,” sophomore Claire McGowen-Henderson said.

Savage-Williams shares this concern and even believes it to be one of the biggest struggles while trying to find a new superintendent. 

“It’s always important for us to find a superintendent that meets our school and community needs and understands the makeup of ETHS,” Savage-Williams said. 

As the year progresses, students, staff and the school board look forward to welcoming a new superintendent

“I would like to see a new superintendent be as approachable as Dr. Witherspoon. I admire leadership that can balance their authority with positivity,” McGowen-Henderson said.