Between them, they had on Wildkit colors.
Marcus Campbell in blue, Taya Kinzie in orange.
Campbell, the new superintendent at Evanston Township High School, and Kinzie, the new principal, each has about two decades of experience in a variety of positions at ETHS.
But this was the first “first day of classes” for both in their new jobs, and they greeted as many of ETHS’s 3,700 students and 600-plus staff members as they could outside the front doors of the building.
“It feels good,” Campbell said. “The first day of school is always the most exciting. That,” he laughed, “and the last day.”
Campbell had been the ETHS principal. The school board promoted him to superintendent, replacing Eric Witherspoon, who retired in June after 16 years leading District 202.
The board then named Kinzie, an associate principal, to take Campbell’s old position.
While the first day of school always has the normal combination of anticipation, joy and confusion, this year’s first day had something else, and it was not good.
Incoming freshman Rowan Shimer and ETHS safety staff employee Alex Thomas both passed away within the past few days.
Kinzie said, “We are holding both the excitement of the first day and holding on to our losses as well.”
Counselors were available for anyone who needed them.
Besides being the first “first day” for Campbell and Kinzie in their new jobs, it was also “day one number one” for first-year students.
Fourteen-year-old freshman Leo Herman said he was “anxious” about moving from middle school to high school, but agreed with his friend, Lailah Pryor, also 14, that it’s time to “get set and ready” for new challenges.