Dear Families, Staff and Community Members,
It is with a great sense of humility and responsibility that I accept the Board’s appointment to this very important position in leading The Winnetka Public Schools as its next Superintendent. This brief video message includes a few thoughts for our community as I transition into my new position within the District. Throughout Winnetka’s history, the transition from one person in this role to another has provided an opportunity for addressing the timely needs of the District. This was true in 1919 when the Board selected a 26 year old Carleton Washburne to lead its schools to 1943 when he stepped down from the role. Many things remain a cherished constant in Winnetka. Tradition and history are foundational to what makes our schools the incredibly special places that they are. Despite that, there have always been influencing factors that naturally emerge in our community and as a result the District has had the opportunity to be a responsive partner. This is of particular importance now in this period of transition, and as we continue to recover from the experience of the pandemic and the resulting needs of our students, staff and families.
On a personal level, it is exciting to me to continue my career in a district in which I have spent nine years as an administrator and in the township from which I graduated as a New Trier Trevian. As a former teacher, I have always been proud to work in a district that remains committed to a progressive philosophy of instruction. As a parent, it means a great deal to lead in a District that places such high value on educating the whole child.
There is much to be proud of in the work accomplished under Dr. Kocanda’s leadership, most significantly the District will be carrying on the momentum of our recently launched Strategic Plan and Portrait of a Graduate. It is most important to me that you know that I am wholeheartedly committed to being an active listener, a responsive leader and a catalyst for continued growth and improvement. I am committed to keeping students at the center of my daily work. I share this value with the members of our administration, our educators, and all members of our school community. I appreciate this opportunity from our School Board and look forward to working with Dr. Kocanda in order to ensure a smooth transition into this role.
Dr. Kelly Tess