Des Plaines District 62 begins search for new superintendent

  • Jane Westerhold

    Jane Westerhold

Updated 9/27/2015 4:53 PM

Des Plaines Elementary District 62 will hold a community forum Tuesday to ask residents what characteristics and skills they want in the next superintendent.

The forum will be held beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Terrace School, 735 S. Westgate Road. Representatives of District 62's search firm, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, will attend.


Superintendent Jane Westerhold is retiring next June after 11 years.

The consultants also plan to meet with school board members, administrators, central office staff, teachers union officials, parent organizations, business leaders and other community stakeholders.

For those who cannot attend a forum, a survey is available on the district website,, through Oct. 7 that asks the public to pick eight top characteristics they'd like to see, and offer the names of any potential superintendent candidates they know of.

The consultants will bring five or six candidates forward for school board interviews, and the board will narrow the candidates to three. The new superintendent would officially start July 1.

Accolades already have started coming in for Westerhold, who announced last July that this school year would be her last.

The school board last week agreed to name its early learning center after Westerhold in honor of her "achievements, contributions, leadership, and service," according to a board memo.

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Westerhold, named the Illinois Superintendent of the Year in 2013 by the Illinois Association of School Administrators, began her career as a kindergarten teacher. She became a principal at age 26, and worked in a number of administrative roles across the state before joining District 62 in 2005.

The early learning center, part of a $109 million districtwide facility renovation project, opened in 2011 next to Forest Elementary School as the district's centralized preschool location. Today, it has an enrollment of 675.

"This was one of her dreams," said District 62 spokeswoman Mindy Ward. "This is what she wanted for the children of Des Plaines."

The naming of the building in Westerhold's honor will take place during a ceremony Thursday, Oct. 22. A reception and tours of the building will be offered from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

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