The Board of Education for Kenilworth School District No. 38 voted to appoint Dr. Stephanie Helfand as the next Principal of The Joseph Sears School at a Special Board Meeting on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. Dr. Helfand is currently the Interim Assistant Principal at Sears School.
Prior to joining The Joseph Sears School, Dr. Helfand was the Chief Technology Officer at New Trier High School and Assistant Director of Educational Technology at Warren Township High School. She spent the first four years of her career as an elementary and middle school special education and general education teacher, and then served as an Instructional Technology Coordinator and professional development provider in Lake Zurich.
"Dr. Helfand is a skilled and passionate educator who puts students at the center of all her decisions," said incoming Superintendent Ms. Catherine (Kate) Donegan. "It was clear throughout the interview process and when speaking to her references, that Dr. Helfand is a collaborative leader who builds relationships with all stakeholders and will provide vital stability to The Joseph Sears School."
According to School Exec Connect Senior Associate Linda Yonke, Helfand was chosen from among 25 applicants for the position. The search firm's process began with focus group meetings and surveys of parents, community members, and staff. Results were used to develop a New Principal Profile. Parents, staff, and students participated in stakeholder committee interviews, and the process culminated in interviews with incoming Superintendent Kate Donegan, who made the final recommendation to the Board.
"The Joseph Sears School is supported by a thoughtful community committed to the exceptional education of their children," said Dr. Helfand. "I look forward to continuing the close partnership established with the community this year to achieve our mission and deliver a personalized educational experience that empowers and challenges each student to grow academically and develop personally."
Dr. Helfand earned an Ed.D.and a master's degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Chicago, where she also received Superintendent and General Administrative Certification. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Upper Iowa University.