District 21 names new principal for Kilmer Elementary in Buffalo Grove, new assistant principals for Field, Longfellow

One new principal and two new assistant principals have been named to schools in Wheeling Township Elementary District 21.

On April 18, the board voted unanimously to appoint a new principal for Joyce Kilmer Elementary School, as well as assistant principals for Field and Longfellow Elementary Schools.

Colleen Goodrich will assume the role at Kilmer as of July 1, succeeding Annette McBride, who is stepping down from the post after two years. Goodrich has spent the past four years as an assistant principal in Highwood-based North Shore School District 112, and previously served as an elementary school teacher and coach in Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54. In 2023, she was named the Illinois Principals Association’s Assistant Principal of the Year, and joined the 2023 class of the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ National Outstanding Assistant Principals.

In recommending her approval, district administrators said Goodrich distinguished herself as “a reflective, student-centered, caring educator.”

“I am so honored and filled with pride to step into this role,” Goodrich said. “Throughout the interview process, it was very, very clear that the positive, optimistic culture of not only the district, but Kilmer itself, just flowed through everyone and everything I experienced.”

Lauren Thomas will become an assistant principal at Field Elementary School in Wheeling. Curtesy Wheeling Township Elementary District 21

Lauren Thomas is also set to assume the role of assistant principal at Field, effective July 1. She joins the district after serving as an instructional coach and as an elementary school teacher in Champaign Unit 4 School District.

District administrators said Thomas’ emphasis on small wins, having a partnership mindset and her visibility in a school “demonstrates a commitment to being an active and engaged leader.” She also has extensive experience with both literacy and multitiered systems of support, which align closely to Field’s improvement goals.

“I’m a passionate educator who is committed to serving all students with equity, excellence and respect,” Thomas said.

Tracy Heitman will join Longfellow Elementary School in Buffalo Grove as an assistant principal on July 1. Courtesy of Wheeling Township Elementary District 21

Tracy Heitman will join Longfellow as of July 1 as its new assistant principal. She joins the district after serving as a social worker in Woodland School District 50. She has also served as a social worker in Waukegan Community Unit District 60.

In recommending her approval, district administrators said Heitman’s “emphasis on the needs of all students, dedication to school improvement, and her ability to use technology to support instruction in a school demonstrates a commitment to being an effective and collaborative leader.”

“I’d like to share with the community how excited I am to join District 21,” Heitman said. “I have heard so many great things about the district and community from friends and colleagues who have lived in Wheeling.”

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