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.

board members talking

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

Students in an HEI class

Something for Everyone at HEI

Students are exercising in more ways than one at this summer’s Hawthorn Enrichment Institute. They are learning yoga techniques, improving critical thinking skills in classes such as the Detective Club, and using their creativity to make unique works of art. From STEM projects to Poms Camp, there is something for everyone. The bottom line is to have fun.

Hawthorn Mall Promotion Logo

Hawthorn Mall Launches Supplies Drive for Hawthorn Students

Join Hawthorn Mall for a WILD Back to School Event on July 30 that will benefit District 73 students. If you pack a backpack full of supplies and drop it off at the Barbara’s Bookstore table at the event, you will receive a $15 Barbara’s Bookstore gift card. The supplies will go to students at Hawthorn District 73’s elementary schools.

The event, which will take place on Tuesday, July 30 from 2 to 5 p.m., will feature a live animal show, face painting, and more. It will take place in Carson’s Court near You Kids Island.

If you miss the July 30 event, you can drop off backpacks with supplies at Barbara’s Bookstore in the mall and receive a gift card through August 6.

Here is a list of school supplies recommended for District 73’s elementary school children.

Children with lizard

Bearded Dragon Visits HEI

Miss Wolf, a teacher at Elementary North, visited HEI “Wild Kingdom” and “Dig it” classes with her bearded dragon. The children learned all about caring for and feeding this lizard, which is native to Australia. They also learned all sorts of bearded dragon facts. Many even had a chance to feed her!

School board clip art

Closed Session Scheduled for July 18

A closed session of the Board of Education will take place Thursday, July 18, at 5:00 p.m. The meeting will take place at the District Office, 841 West End Court in Vernon Hills, Illinois

students in classroom

First Week of HEI

So much took place during the first week of Hawthorn Enrichment Institute. Students built volcanoes, touched fossils, danced, made jewelry, solved crimes, solved problems, and had lots of fun. The program is offering 80 classes this summer.

Students in a classroom

Summer Scholars Program Builds Reading Skills

Approximately 110 students are enrolled in this year’s Summer Scholars program that is taking place at Townline Elementary. The program primarily focuses on building reading skills in a fun and engaging way. Classes are purposefully small with about 10 students in each class.

students enjoying projects in classrooms

Hawthorn Enrichment Institute Kicks Off Its First Day

Teachers and students were equally excited to start the first day of the Hawthorn Enrichment Institute (HEI). Within no time, students were involved in fun science, math, art and other projects. Lots of smiles in every classroom. Designed to expand the educational horizon for Hawthorn students, HEI offers many types of project based learning courses and opportunities in the areas of core academics, the arts and athletics. 

School board clip art

Highlights of the June 24 Board of Education Meeting

Abe Singh, Director of Finance & Business Operations, provided a summary of the 2019-2020 tentative budget.  A public hearing on the proposed budget will take place on August 22. The budget will be adopted on September 12 and will be submitted to ISBE on September 30. The revenue is projected at $72,586,559 and expenses are $70,527,699. The $2 million surplus is due to the timing of the issuance of bonds as relating to when these projects are being expended. The operational deficit is $159,000. The tentative budget, which was approved by the board, is posted on the District’s website and is available for review at the District Office, 841 West End Court in Vernon Hills. 

Hawthorn PTO President Wendy Elman reported that the Hawthorn PTO raised $61,000 last year. In addition to the cash disbursement, the PTO provided more than $6,500 for programs and services, and $8,100 in free books and educational materials for libraries and classrooms. In all, the PTO contributed approximately $75,000 in cash and value to Hawthorn students. 

Mr. Singh announced that the district has hired Adam Palmer as the new Director of Human Resources. He said that 68 people applied for the position. After screenings, nine individuals were selected to be interviewed by teams of staff. Through the interviews and follow up reference checks, two finalists were selected. They returned for additional interviews. Mr. Palmer began his new position on July 1. 

The two interim superintendents, Dr. Friedman and Dr. Porto, offered their thanks for a great year, as this was their last District 73 board meeting. They said that the year was action-packed, they saw tremendous growth, and enjoyed the relationship building. They also said they felt proud that they were leaving the district in a stronger place than they had found it. Board President Robin Cleek thanked them on behalf of the Board of Education. 

Board member Wes Polen announced that Laura Gitzinger, a kindergarten teacher at the School of Dual Language, has been awarded teacher of the month by Dual Language Schools. The Board thanked Ms. Gitzinger for her dedication.

community forum logo

Special Session Scheduled for July 2

A special session of the Board of Education will take place Tuesday, July 2, at 5 p.m. at Middle School North, 201 Hawthorn Parkway in Vernon Hills. The session will focus on plans for the renovation of Middle School North. Community members are encouraged to provide input.

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.