A Message from the School Board

May 5, 2022

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May 5, 2022

Dear Families, Staff and Community Members,

The Board met in public session on Thursday, May 5 to vote on its selection of the next Superintendent of The Winnetka Public Schools, following the resignation of Dr. Trisha Kocanda at the end of this school year. We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Kelly Tess as Superintendent, effective June 30, 2022. We are confident that Dr. Tess has the professional expertise, leadership experience, and communication skills necessary to succeed in this role.

Dr. Tess joined District 36 in 2013, and currently serves as Assistant Superintendent. Dr. Tess is a highly-effective administrator, exemplary educator and relationship-oriented leader who shares our community’s deep commitment to our Strategic Plan and Portrait of a Graduate. She understands the Winnetka student experience from Kindergarten through eighth grade and is deeply committed to progressive educational values.

As a New Trier alum, Dr. Tess knows the level of excellence expected in Winnetka, and is dedicated to upholding the District’s rich legacy of Progressive Education and commitment to lifelong learning. Prior to joining District 36, Dr. Tess was an elementary and middle school teacher for over seven years in California, Alabama and Northbrook, Il. She served as Assistant Principal in Park Ridge before taking the position as Assistant Principal at The Skokie School. Dr. Tess accepted the role of Principal at The Skokie School in 2014 and successfully served for five years before moving into her current position as Assistant Superintendent in 2019.

Dr. Tess is well-positioned to step into the superintendency. She has in-depth knowledge of all elements of the district and will be able to move our students and staff forward at this critical time of recovery and accelerate progress toward our district goals. We are eager to partner with Dr. Tess and look forward to many opportunities for you to connect with her at each school later this spring.

We are grateful for Dr. Kocanda’s service to our District and her commitment to working closely with Dr. Tess in the remaining month of the 2021-2022 academic year to ensure that our commitment to our Strategic Plan and daily work toward achieving the goals continues uninterrupted.

Information regarding the process to identify a new Assistant Superintendent will be communicated to the school community as we begin engaging in a national search.

As always, thank you for your ongoing support of The Winnetka Public Schools and our students.


The Winnetka Public Schools Board