Marilyn Madden, assistant superintendent/principal for School District 202, has retired this year after stepping up to the position three years ago during a time of transition for the District.
“When she was tapped for the position, my predecessor thought it would be very important to have someone in place with all that turnover who knew ETHS,” said Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. At the time of Ms. Madden’s appointment, both Allan Alson and Denise Martin were retiring from their respective positions of superintendent and assistant superintendent/principal, after lengthy terms of service.
Ms. Madden is a sixteen-year veteran of the District who served as a counselor and head of Pupil Personnel Services. She is someone “who has a heart for ETHS, who cares deeply about this school and expresses nothing but great love for its students,” said Dr. Witherspoon, in an emotional tribute to Ms. Madden at her last School Board meeting on June 22.
“She stepped up because she recognized that she could provide leadership and stability at a time when a lot of the staff and others were concerned about what might be coming next,” Dr. Witherspoon said.
Dr. Witherspoon described the first time he met with Ms. Madden after both of them had started in their new jobs. He said that it had been a good meeting and that they had both reflected many times that they really connected that day and that they both felt “this is going to work.”
“After three years of working with this remarkable person,” he said, “it has more than worked.”
Dr. Witherspoon also told of the evident respect that Ms. Madden’s colleagues have for her. When he formally announced her appointment to the assistant superintendent position to a gathering of faculty and staff on the first day of school three years ago, “the room erupted into thunderous cheering and applause,” even though it had been public knowledge for some time, he said. “People jumped to their feet to celebrate that Marilyn Madden was the new assistant superintendent/principal at Evanston Township High School.”
Dr. Witherspoon added that when he presented her with a plaque to recognize her service at a similar gathering at the end of this school year, “the room erupted into thunderous applause and cheering”
“She is as beloved today as she was when she was asked to take this position and as she has been for the last sixteen years she has served the children of this community,” Dr. Witherspoon said, adding that Ms. Madden had also worked at District 65 prior to coming to ETHS.
“The kids always come first for you,” President Rachel Hayman told Ms. Madden, whose eldest son, a 2003 graduate of ETHS was Ms. Madden’s counselee.
Vice-President Jane Colleton remarked that while she thought of Ms. Madden’s work as “highly professional . . . you are such a humane person.”
“We knew with your appointment that there wouldn’t be any missteps, that you would show (the new superintendent) the ropes and let them know what our values were here at ETHS,” said Board member Mary Wilkerson.
“I want to thank you for the many conversations that we had, both about … my son and about any student I came to you (about). You handled it the same way,” said Board member Martha Burns.
“I love the fact that Dr. Witherspoon just let me go and do what I needed to do here and each of you have challenged me and asked me questions and I thank you for it,” said Ms. Madden. “I have no plans other than to sleep in, and on the first snow day I’m going to turn over and say ‘Thank you, Lord.’”
Oscar Hawthorne, a former dean at ETHS who spent the last four years as principal of Streamwood High School, will succeed Ms. Madden.