Dist. 62 names early learning center after outgoing superintendent

  • Des Plaines Elementary District 62 Superintendent Jane Westerhold, left, receives a box of crayons from former school board President Brenda Murphy  on Thursday.

      Des Plaines Elementary District 62 Superintendent Jane Westerhold, left, receives a box of crayons from former school board President Brenda Murphy on Thursday. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

  • Des Plaines Elementary District 62 Superintendent Jane Westerhold, second from left, is joined by her family Thursday at the naming of the early learning center in her honor.

      Des Plaines Elementary District 62 Superintendent Jane Westerhold, second from left, is joined by her family Thursday at the naming of the early learning center in her honor. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted10/23/2015 5:22 AM

The building where many 3- and 4-year olds in Des Plaines begin their educations was renamed the Jane L. Westerhold Early Learning Center on Thursday in recognition of District 62's retiring superintendent.

The $13.7 million, 51,350-square-foot building opened in August 2011 as part of a $109 million facility renovation project overseen by Westerhold. The preschool is attached to Forest Elementary School at 1375 S. Fifth Ave., and serves as the district's centralized preschool location.

 

The school board last month decided to name the building after Westerhold in honor of her "achievements, contributions, leadership, and service."

Westerhold is planning to retire at the end of the upcoming school year, after 11 years at the helm of the district. Named the Illinois Superintendent of the Year in 2013 by the Illinois Association of School Administrators, Westerhold began her career as a kindergarten teacher and became a principal at age 26. She worked in a variety of administrative roles across the state before coming to District 62 in 2005.

A search firm is now helping the district find a new superintendent, who is expected to be named by the school board after winter break. Westerhold's successor would officially start July 1.

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