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Familiar faces to return to D65 as principals

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The Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board Monday named two new principals — Adrian Harries for Nichols Middle School and Wayne Williams for Oakton Elementary School. Both have previously worked in the school district.

The board also appointed Michelle Cooney, assistant principal at Lincoln Elementary, as the school’s interim principal for the coming school year.

“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to welcome two former employees back to District 65,” said Superintendent Paul Goren. “Their familiarity with our community and knowledge of our school system will be an asset in their new roles.”

Harries served as principal of Dr. Bessie Rhodes School of Global Studies from 2010-2012, prior to being named to his current position as principal of Irving Middle School in District 89.

Williams served as a psychologist at several schools within District 65 from 2002-2007 before accepting a position as a principal intern in Chicago Public Schools. Less than a year later, he was appointed principal at John Hay Community Academy and has served in this role for the past seven years.

Goren said a diverse group of teachers, educational support staff, parents and administrators worked to develop leadership profiles that identified the skills and attributes desired for the next school principal at each of the schools that was used to narrow down the pool of over 100 applicants for the two positions and develop interview questions.

During the week of May 25, staff and parents were invited to attend a community forum at each school to meet the candidates being considered for school principal.

Following the community forum, each candidate met with the school interview committee comprised of teachers, parents, and administrators. Members of each school community were invited to apply to serve on their interview committee. As the final step in the process, Goren conducted site visits and extensive interviews with the candidates considered to be the best potential fit for the important leadership roles.

Goren said, “Both principals are highly qualified and will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our school community. We look forward to hosting an opportunity for staff and parents to get to know their new principals prior to school starting in the fall.”

Of Cooney, the new interim principal at Lincoln, Goren said she "is a respected leader within the Lincoln school community and has stepped up to provide additional support for the students and staff this school year. I am confident in her ability to effectively serve in this leadership role.”

Cooney has served as the assistant principal at Lincoln since 2013. Prior to coming to District 65, she held the position as interim principal for LEARN 6 Charter School in North Chicago.

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