Dr. Peter Hannigan

Hawthorn District 73 Announces Dr. Peter Hannigan as New Superintendent

At the January 14 board meeting, the Hawthorn School District 73 Board of Education named Dr. Peter Hannigan as the new superintendent of schools, starting July 1, 2019. Dr. Hannigan is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources at Schaumburg Consolidated Community School District 54, a pre-K through eighth grade public school district with 28 schools serving more than 15,000 students. The selection is the result of a national search conducted with the assistance of the Libertyville-based educational search firm BWP & Associates that produced approximately 40 qualified applicants from diverse geographic and professional backgrounds.  

“The Board of Education is thrilled and excited to have Dr. Hannigan join District 73 as its next superintendent,” said District 73 Board of Education President Sonali Patil. “After meeting several excellent candidates, we felt Dr. Hannigan was the best fit for the District 73 community. His experiences in Schaumburg closely reflect the qualities that were outlined in the superintendent search profile for Hawthorn 73. His enthusiasm, energy and passion for children will be well received by the students, staff and families in our community.”

Over the past 12 years, Dr. Hannigan has served in a variety of leadership roles at District 54. He was hired as the Principal of the District’s Everett Dirksen Elementary School in 2006, became the Principal of Margaret Mead Junior High in 2010, and was promoted to his current position in 2013. His accomplishments include: 

  • Implementing systems and structures to promote a collaborative culture
  • Developing fiscally responsible staffing plans that aligned to student achievement goals
  • Developing a long term facilities plan that included the creation of an early childhood center
  • Working collaboratively with the Board of Education and District employees to achieve the District’s Strategic Plan
  • Establishing a pipeline for recruitment and development of teaching and administrative talent

Dr. Hannigan began his career as a fourth-grade teacher at Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary School in Indian Prairie School District 204 in 1998. In 2003, he moved to Palatine Community Consolidated School District 15 where he initially served as a building assistant at Jane Addams School and later as Principal at Virginia Lake Elementary School. He also served as an adjunct professor at Argosy University, where he taught master and doctoral level human resources related classes from 2011 to 2013. 

Dr. Hannigan holds a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), an Education Specialist (Ed.S.), and a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Northern Illinois University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education and teaching from Aurora University.

He and his wife currently live in Wauconda, Illinois. They have three children. 

Hawthorn School District 73 is a preschool through eighth-grade public school district serving more than 4,200 students. It serves all or portions of the communities of Vernon Hills, Mundelein, Libertyville, Indian Creek and unincorporated areas of Lake County, Illinois.

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Two Ways to Participate in the April 17 Community Engagement Meeting

The Board of Education will host a community engagement meeting on Tuesday, April 17. The Board is looking for your input about the District’s space concerns. Attendees will be able to either watch a slide presentation and video about the District’s space constraints, or meet directly with Board members to provide feedback and prioritize solutions. The meeting will take place at 7:00 p.m. at Elementary South, 430 N. Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills.

Community Input Sought

You are invited to a very special Board meeting on Wednesday, October 19 to receive important information about our proposed Educational Facility Master Plan (EFMP). As you may know, the district is continuing to experience growth and this EFMP will provide a long-term solution for both our urgent facility needs now as well as planning for continued growth and academic excellence into the future.

The Board hired DLR Group in March to evaluate our current facility conditions and to facilitate a Core Team made up of community members, staff, administrators and facility leadership to discuss and create solutions that address our needs. This presentation and conversation will be your first opportunity to give feedback to the Core Team on their recommended EFMP solution prior to Board consideration later this fall.

Please make arrangements to attend this very important presentation and conversation at Townline Elementary on October 19 at 7:00 p.m. We look forward to seeing you there.

Background Information

En Español

Area where the kindergarten building will be built.

Kindergarten Building Update

At the May 20 Board of Education meeting, the Board approved an official name for the kindergarten building that is being built adjacent to the Sullivan Community Center. Its official name is Hawthorn School for Young Learners. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on May 6. With the majority of the preliminary submission and permitting processes completed, work on the site has begun.

The first step was the dewatering process on the site to enable equipment access for tree and brush removal. This removal provided a wide-open site with clear site lines out to Aspen Drive. 

As the District began planning the construction fencing, it realized that the fencing would block sidewalk access along the front of the Sullivan Community Center, creating a barrier for the students and community members who typically walked along the east side of Aspen Drive to visit the library or the Sullivan Center. 

After discussing the pedestrian flow with the onsite police officer directing traffic and looking at the existing site conditions, the District decided to redirect the pedestrian traffic to the other side of the street both before school and at dismissal times. It stationed two additional crossing guards at key points on Aspen Drive that had identified crosswalks. Signage was posted to inform pedestrians that the side walk on the east side of Aspen was closed. 

The project is currently on schedule as detailed within the project timeline planner. The building is projected to be completed by the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Stay tuned for more updates over the summer.

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Highlights of the June 10 Board of Education Meeting

In the public comment section of the meeting, Lake County Board Member Julie Simpson (District 18) thanked the Board of Education members for everything they do. She also noted that she and other community members have formed a group that is concerned about the financial incentives that the Village of Vernon Hills may offer to a developer for the redevelopment of the Hawthorn Mall, that could impact local schools and the library.

The Board honored the 48 teachers and staff who are receiving tenure. Interim Superintendent Mark Friedman said that the school district retained 80 to 90 percent of this group of teachers, whereas the standard attrition rate for new teachers in their first five years is about 50 percent. 

During his superintendent’s report, Dr. Friedman encouraged the community to attend a forum to provide input for the development of expansion/renovation plans for Middle School North. The meeting will take place on July 2 at 5 p.m. at Middle School North. He also reported that a local economic development organization contacted the District to see if the District would consider supporting the possible abatement of property taxes for a pharmaceutical company that is considering moving into the area. Concerns were expressed. 

Abe Singh, Director of Finance and Business Operations, reported that the construction of the kindergarten building, which is now officially called Hawthorn School for Young Learners, is on time and under budget. The construction company is working through a few site issues. 

During the action items section of the meeting, the Board approved Legat Architects’ proposal to provide professional architectural services to the District for the Middle School North additions and renovations project. 

Congratulations to Teachers and Administrators Who are Receiving Tenure

The Board of Education honored 48 teachers and administrators who are about to receive the status of tenure. Prior to the Board meeting, the teachers gathered with their families at a reception in their honor.

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Library Remodeling Update

Starting August 1, Aspen Drive Library will be reduced to a very small space as they continue their remodeling project. Students and patrons are still welcome, but the library may not be able to accommodate students in large numbers. The library is reminding everyone that Cook Park Library in Libertyville will be open during the project. For more information, please review the library’s letter in English or Spanish.

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Next Board of Education Meeting is June 10, 2019

A regular session of the Board of Education will take place on Monday, June 10. It will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the District Office, 841 West End Court in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

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Community Invited to Provide Input on Expansion Plans for Hawthorn Middle School North at July 2 Community Forum

Hawthorn School District 73 will hold a community forum for members of the public to provide input for the development of the plans to expand and renovate Hawthorn Middle School North.  The event will take place at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2, at the Middle School North gym, 201 Hawthorn Parkway in Vernon Hills. 

At the community forum, the public will have the opportunity to review initial design plans and provide input. “Middle School North is here to serve the community,” said Interim Superintendent Mark Friedman. “We want this building to truly feel like home for middle school students, and we feel that community input on its new design is essential.” 

The expansion/renovation of Middle School North is one component of the District’s official Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP). Developed by a core team of community members, staff, administrators and facility leadership, the EFMP is a 10-year plan to support the district’s growing needs and long-term strategic plan. 

In addition to the expansion of Middle School North, the EFMP includes the construction of a kindergarten building adjacent to the Sullivan Community Center, as well as the expansion/renovation of Middle School South and the District’s elementary schools. The passage of a $48.7 million bond referendum in 2018 made it possible for the District to move forward with its EFMP plans.  Approximately $9.8 million has been budgeted for the expansion of Middle School North, a 90,700-square-foot building that was built in 1975. It has not received any new additions since then. 

The Board of Education recently selected Legat Architects, which previously designed the District’s Townline Elementary and worked on other District building renovations, to design the layout of the new Middle School North.  Projected to be completed by July of 2021, the expansion/renovation includes:

  • Seven new classrooms 
  • The addition of a full gym
  • Renovation of locker room and upper gym for fitness
  • Fine arts additions

Hawthorn School District 73 is a preschool through eighth-grade public school district serving more than 4,200 students. It serves all or portions of the communities of Vernon Hills, Mundelein, Libertyville, Indian Creek and unincorporated areas of Lake County, Illinois.


En Garde…Ready…Fence!

Crimson Blades Fencing will open their new club space and class offerings at the Centre Club in Libertyville with a Free Open House on Wednesday, June 5, from 7-9pm. Enjoy a demonstration of fencing, try it yourself, sign up for classes! The Centre Club is located at Advocate Condell Hospital, 200 W Golf Road in Libertyville.

Crimson Blades is part of the LHS-VHHS Fencing Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit that supports the Community District 128 Thundercats Fencing Team. Their goal is to promote the Olympic sport of Fencing in our community, and allow any interested student athlete the opportunity to participate, regardless of finances.

For additional information, please contact Centre Club Program Director, Clo Martinez, clodualdo.martinez@midtownhealth.com

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Summer Programs at the Library

Cook Library District is offering many fun programs and activities this summer, including a summer reading program. Everyone is invited to sign for the reading program that starts June 1 to win prizes for reading and doing fun activities.

Promotion Ceremony

Congratulations to the Class of 2019

Middle School North and Middle School South held their promotion ceremonies on May 28 at Vernon Hills High School. Between two events, more than 450 students marched down the aisles, taking their last steps as middle school students. The Middle School North Orchestra, Middle School North 7/8 Grade Chorus, Middle School South Chorus and Hawthorn South Eighth Grade Band gave outstanding performances. The evening included addresses by the interim superintendents, school principals, school board members and student council presidents, as well as the presentation of certificates by board members and administration. Thank you to staff for organizing the evening events, an important milestone in the lives of our students.

Three retirees

Congratulations to Retirees

Congratulations to our 13 2019 retirees. Thank you for your many years of hard work and dedication to help District 73 meet its goal to “Inspire all students to embrace learning in an ever-changing world.”

  • Lynn Barkley – District Office
  • Mary Benton – Middle School South
  • Thomas Church – Elementary South
  • Elizabeth Gehlbach – Elementary North
  • David Kleinschmidt – Middle School South
  • Linda Knezovich – Middle School North
  • Tara Moncada – Elementary North
  • Marilyn Simon – Middle School North
  • John Ostrander – Middle School North
  • Virginia Banda – Townline Elementary
  • Julianon Gomez – Middle School South
  • Josie Hormel – Elementary South
  • Mariann Krippinger – Middle School North