On March 19, the District 65 School Board approved a recommendation to appoint Donna Sokolowski as the next principal of Dewey Elementary School and Jillian Anderson as the next principal at Park School. Both appointments are effective July 1. 

Ms. Sokolowski has been serving as the interim principal at Dewey during this school year. She succeeded Andalib Khelghati, former principal of Dewey, who was tapped to fill the Assistant Superintendent of Schools position in District 65. As part of the selection process, teachers, educational support staff, and Dewey families met with District administrators to develop a leadership profile that identified the skills and attributes desired for the next principal of Dewey Elementary.

”During this process, we heard loud and clear the strong support for Ms. Sokolowski,” said Superintendent Paul Goren. “Ms. Sokolowski has done an excellent job at Dewey over the last year-and-a-half, building solid relationships with children and their families. She has also worked extremely well with Dewey staff stressing the importance of high quality teaching and learning, service to all children using an equity lens, and a commitment to a safe school climate and culture.”

Prior to serving the Dewey community as interim principal, Ms. Sokolowski held the position of assistant principal at Dr. Bessie Rhodes School of Global Studies and at Dewey Elementary. She has experience as a district-wide literacy coach and an elementary and special education teacher. Ms. Sokolowski has 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 from Northeastern Illinois University.

Jillian Anderson will succeed current Park School principal, Marlene Grossman, who announced her retirement earlier this school year. As part of the Park principal selection process, staff and families had several opportunities to provide input. This information was used to generate a leadership profile outlining skills and attributes desired for the next school principal.

“Ms. Anderson is an incredibly strong fit for this position, meeting practically all of the criteria outlined in the leadership profile,” said Dr. Goren. “Her experience and enthusiasms were unparalleled which she continually demonstrated in her interviews with representatives from both District 65 and District 202. We look forward to having her on our leadership team.”

For the past five years, Ms. Anderson served as an Assistant Principal at Kirk School, part of the North Shore Special Education Organization. Kirk school closely mirrors the Park community. Prior to being an assistant principal, she was a special education teacher for seven years at Kirk. She has experience collaborating with and leading teachers on curriculum and assessment development, transition planning, safety, and behavioral concerns.

Ms. Anderson has a Master of Science in Education from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Illinois State University.