In photo, (l-r), Dr. LaTarsha Green, Dawes Principal; Ms. Jessica Plaza, Orrington Principal; Ms. Michelle Bournes-Thomas, Lincolnwood Interim Principal; Ms. Donna Sokolowski, Dewey Interim Principal; and Ms. Ginger Lumpkin, Walker Principal

On May 22, the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education approved school leadership appointments as recommended by Superintendent Paul Goren. District 65 is excited to announce its newest team members – Dr. LaTarsha Green, Dawes Elementary Principal; Ms. Ginger Lumpkin, Walker Elementary Principal; and Ms. Jessica Plaza, Orrington Elementary Principal. In addition, Dr. Goren announced the appointment of two current assistant principals to interim leadership roles for the coming school year – Ms. Michelle Bournes-Thomas, current assistant principal at Lincoln, will serve as interim principal at Lincolnwood Elementary and Ms. Donna Sokolowski, current assistant principal at Dewey Elementary, will serve as Dewey’s interim principal. All appointments are effective July 1, 2017.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome such talented educators and administrators to our District 65 team. Each of these individuals have incredibly strong leadership profiles and have proven to be thoughtful and compassionate leaders who have deep experience working in diverse school settings,” said Paul Goren, Superintendent of Schools. “Our district leadership team looks forward to supporting our colleagues in their new roles and to ensure a smooth transition for the students, staff, and families at each of our elementary schools.”

As part of the selection process at Dawes, Orrington, and Walker, members of the district’s leadership team met diverse groups of teachers, educational support staff, parents, and administrators at each respective school to develop leadership profiles that identified the skills and attributes desired for their next principal. The information contained within the leadership profile was used to narrow down pools of dozens of qualified applicants. Those that were identified as a strong fit for the respective roles were invited to participate in community forums and were interviewed by committees of teachers, parents, and administrators with Superintendent Goren making the final recommendation.

“We are very fortunate to have strong leaders within District 65 to appoint to interim roles at Dewey and Lincolnwood for the coming school year. Given the timing of the openings at both schools, we did not feel there was sufficient time to conduct an extensive and engaging selection process and ensure a smooth transition for the coming school year,” said Superintendent Goren. “Additionally, planning for next school year is already underway and assigning interim principals ensures that important work on behalf of our students and staff continues uninterrupted.”

Bio Information

Michelle Bournes-Thomas, Interim Principal Lincolnwood Elementary

Ms. Bournes-Thomas is a long-time educator and has served as the assistant principal at Lincoln Elementary for the past two years. Prior to serving in this leadership capacity, Ms. Bournes-Thomas was a primary grade teacher at both Kingsley and Oakton elementary schools for 15 years. She holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from National-Louis University, a Master of Education in Elementary Education from DePaul University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychological Services from Northwestern University.

Ms. Bournes-Thomas will succeed Fred Hunter who was recently selected to serve as the new principal at Parker Junior High in Flossmoor District 161.

Dr. LaTarsha Green, Principal Dawes Elementary

For the past five years, LaTarsha Green served as principal at Marquette School of Excellence in Chicago. She has also served as an assistant principal, International Baccalaureate Coordinator, curriculum and instructional developer, classroom teacher, and technology coordinator. Dr. Green is a veteran educator with over 20 years of experience in public school settings. Dr. Green holds an Ed.D in Education Policy Studies/Urban Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Master of Arts in Educational Administration and Supervision from St. Xavier University, a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from Chicago State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Green will succeed Amy Wharton who is currently serving as interim principal and who will take on a new role as assistant principal at Haven Middle School next school year.

Ginger Lumpkin, Principal Walker Elementary

Ginger Lumpkin started her educational career as a student teacher in District 65 at Chute Middle School. For the past four years, Ms. Lumpkin served as principal at John C. Haines Elementary School in Chicago. She also served as the assistant principal at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School for five years and as a classroom teacher, technology instructor, and department chair in the Chicago Public School system. She is a veteran educator with over 20 years of experience serving in diverse school settings. Ms. Lumpkin holds a Master of Education from Lewis University and Bachelor of Arts in Education from Northwestern University.

Ms. Lumpkin will succeed Erik Friedman who was recently selected to serve as the new principal at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School in Glenview District 34.

Jessica Plaza, Principal Orrington Elementary

For the past five years, Jessica Plaza has served as the Resident Principal at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy in Chicago. Prior to this, she was the Director of the Plato Learning Academy in Chicago for four years.  Ms. Plaza is currently working toward an Ed.D in Educational Leadership at National-Louis University. She also holds an Ed.S in Educational Leadership and Administration from National-Louis University, a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from National-Louis University, and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University.

Ms. Plaza will succeed Renaud Beaudoin who is retiring after the 2016-2017 school year.

Donna Sokolowski, Interim Principal Dewey Elementary

Donna Sokolowski is currently serving as the assistant principal at Dewey Elementary. Before joining the Dewey school community, she was the assistant principal at Dr. Bessie Rhodes School of Global Studies for three years. Prior to this, she was a district-wide literacy coach and an elementary and special education teacher at both Lincolnwood and Oakton for 12 years.  Ms. Sokolowski holds a Master of Arts in School Leadership from Concordia University, a Master of Arts in Classroom Psychology from Adler School of Psychology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Special and Elementary Education, Northeastern Illinois University.

Ms. Sokolowski will succeed Andalib Khelghati who was recently appointed to serve as District 65’s new Assistant Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1, 2017.