New Trier District 203 Board selects Dr. Paul Sally as next Superintendent

Paul Sally

Dr. Paul Sally, the current Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at New Trier High School District 203, will become the District's new Superintendent beginning July 1, 2017.

The District 203 Board of Education announced Sally's appointment at its November regular meeting, following an extensive nationwide search and interview process. Sally will succeed Dr. Linda Yonke, who announced that she will retire as the District 203 Superintendent at the end of June 2017.

"The Board of Education is extremely pleased to announce Paul Sally as District 203's next Superintendent," said New Trier High School Board of Education President Greg Robitaille. "The Board had an enormous challenge to find a replacement for Dr. Yonke. For the past 11 years, Dr. Yonke's strong leadership has benefitted our community's high school and its students, teachers, staff and parents in very meaningful ways. We are deeply grateful for her contributions.

After an extensive external search over the past five months involving more than 30 candidates, the Board concluded that Dr. Sally is the best person to serve the needs of District 203 into the future. Dr. Sally is well-known inside and outside of New Trier High School for his leadership skills, strong intellect, deep understanding of teaching and education and his approachable, caring personality. The Board has every expectation that he will continue to make New Trier High School an example of excellence in public school education in the U.S."

Sally began his career at New Trier in 1994 and spent 15 years on the mathematics faculty, including four years as the Northfield Campus Coordinator for the Mathematics Department. He was promoted to Assistant Superintendent in 2009 and Associate Superintendent in 2014. In his current position, he is responsible for overseeing faculty supervision and evaluation, professional development, testing and all major curricular initiatives. He has served in various leadership roles throughout his 22-year career at New Trier, most recently as a member of the Board of Education Finance Committee, the Facilities Steering Committee and the Board's negotiation team for the last three faculty contracts.

"I am truly honored to be named the next Superintendent of New Trier High School District 203," Sally said. "Leading a school with such a deep tradition of excellence and innovation is both humbling and exciting. For the past 22 years, New Trier has been my home, and I cannot wait to further serve the people who make it such a special place: our inspiring, motivated students; involved, caring parents; a dedicated Board of Education; a supportive community; and truly the nation's best faculty, staff and administration.

I would like to thank the Board for their faith in me. I would also like to thank Dr. Yonke for her leadership, years of mentorship and commitment to making sure every student who enters New Trier finds a place to explore his or her unique passions. I look forward to these months of transition as a wonderful opportunity to engage in conversations with our staff, students, parents, sender schools and greater community to hear their thoughts about our school, what our students need and our goals for the future."

Sally holds a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics from Yale University, a master's degree in computer science from Northwestern University and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from National Louis University. He worked in software development for seven years before changing careers to education in 1992.

His selection follows a process that formally began in June when the Board of Education hired the educational search firm School Exec Connect to assist in the search. The firm conducted 19 focus groups and solicited input via an online survey to build a New Trier Superintendent Profile that guided the Board as it assessed more than 35 candidates from within and outside of Illinois. After initially interviewing five candidates, three finalists returned in early November to meet with the Board and two interview committees comprised of administrators, faculty, staff and community members. In an effort to attract the strongest pool, the Board granted confidentiality to all applicants.

Yonke has led the District as Superintendent for the past decade after joining New Trier in 2004 as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. Her tenure has been marked by numerous milestones, such as the expansion of student services and extracurricular programs, the continued strengthening of New Trier's curriculum and academic programs, development of model characteristics for teacher development and evaluation and major facilities improvements on both campuses.

"This is an exciting time of transition for New Trier, and I cannot think of a better person to lead our district into the future than Dr. Paul Sally," Yonke said. "He is a crucial member of the administrative team, a brilliant educational leader and an enthusiastic advocate for New Trier students, faculty and staff. I look forward to working with Paul to make sure the transition is a seamless one for New Trier. I am looking forward to retirement and spending more time with my family, but it is definitely easier to think about leaving knowing that the District will be in such capable hands."