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

Carmelfest Logo

Carmelfest

Carmel Catholic high School is holding Carmelfest, a one of a kind event for sixth and seventh grade students with games and more on May 31 from 7 to 9 p.m.

School board clip art

Regular Session Scheduled for May 20

Regular Session of the Board of Education will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 20, 2019.  The meeting will take place at the District Office, 841 West End Court in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

Aspen Drive Map

Rerouting Pedestrian Traffic on Aspen Drive

As you know, this is an exciting time at School District 73! Thanks to your support, we have begun construction activities to build the new kindergarten building and begin the process of easing the stress on our programs and facilities. We are excited about the improvements and opportunities this will create for your child’s continued learning and exploration!

As you may have noticed, activity has already begun in the site directly adjacent to The Sullivan Center. As the preliminary site clearing concludes, the contractor will be installing fencing to secure the construction site to maintain a safe environment for all pedestrians in the general area. As a precautionary measure and to maintain the safety of your child, we will be routing all pedestrian traffic down the west side of Aspen Drive with crossing guards positioned both in front of The Sullivan Center as well as in front of the Aspen Library directly across from Aspen Pointe Drive. (The light green line on the map represents the closed walking path.) We understand and support the importance of these partnering facilities to all community members and want to encourage their use. The crossing guards will help to communicate this important message to all the children we serve as they seek to utilize facilities at The Sullivan Center as well as the library services. We ask that you please join us in sharing this important safety message with your children. Please see the attached map for clarification. 

Boat Safety Flyer

Free Boating Safety Class

Countryside Fire Station No. 1 is offering a free boating safety class. It will take place on Saturday, June 1, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 801 S. Midlothian Road in Mundelein. To register, call: 847-918-6145.

Foundation Board members

Key to 73 Foundation Awards New Grants

The Key to 73, Hawthorn School District 73’s newly incorporated foundation, presented 10 grant awards totaling approximately $15,000 to 26 teachers during ceremonies last Thursday. This is the first year that the Foundation awarded grants, which will fund projects that will enhance the educational experiences for Hawthorn’s students. 

“We’re very excited to offer this opportunity to teachers,” said the Foundation’s President Jeremy Gong. “Our foundation is increasing the resources available to teachers to inspire and motivate students at all levels.  These grants will have a positive impact for years to come.”

Following is a list of the projects that will be funded through the grants:

  • Google Cardboard Viewers for two Middle School South eighth grade Language Arts and Social Studies teachers.
  • Childhood ObesityPrevention Resources/Materials for two Middle School South PE staff members.
  • Twelve Flexible Lighting Lamps and Charging Ports for two Middle School North seventh grade language arts teachers.
  • Flexible Classroom Seating for one Middle School South RTI specialist.
  • Bee-Bots for four Townline Elementary fourth grade teachers. 
  • Earthquake Technologies Supplements for five Elementary South fourth grade teachers.
  • 30 STEM Bins for three Townline Elementary first grade teachers.
  • A one-year subscription to Social Express Videos from Common Sense Media for an Elementary North social worker.
  • Flexible Seating for three Aspen Elementary teachers.
  • A contra bass bar for three Elementary North music teachers.

Several of the grants were made in partnership with Rust-Oleum.  All the teachers who submitted grant requests received funding.

The Key to 73 Hawthorn Education Foundation was established in 2017 to raise private sector funds to support the goals of the District’s Strategic Plan. The Foundation gives the District’s schools the ability to offer students programs and opportunities beyond those provided through regular funding. For more information visit the Foundation’s website.

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.

family with JDRF sign

Charity Garage Sale

A charity garage sale will take place from May 16 to May 18 that will benefit JDRF. It will take place at 281 W. Camargo Court in Vernon Hills from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each day. More than 40 families are participating.

Teachers in groups

Early Release Day Offers Time for Collaboration

Early Release Days offer a block of time for teachers and staff to work collaboratively on the strategic work of the District. Overall, this collaborative work is important to student learning.

School District and Park District representatives with shovels

Groundbreaking Event Marks Start of Construction of Kindergarten Building

Hawthorn School District 73 held a groundbreaking event on Monday to celebrate the start of construction of its new kindergarten building at the Sullivan Community Center. The District’s Board President Robin Cleek thanked the community for making this opportunity possible.

“We’re grateful to be in a community that understands that our future is inextricably linked to the education of our children and we must work collaboratively for their success,” said Ms. Cleek. “The kindergarten center is truly the result of a collaborative process. First, we’d like to extend our gratitude to the voters for allowing us to move forward with this project. We’d also like to thank the Vernon Hills Park District for being a superb partner throughout this lengthy process.”

Vernon Hills Soccer Club Logo

Soccer Tryouts

The Vernon Hills Soccer Club is holding tryouts in May.

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Highlights of the April 29, Board of Education Meeting


Interim Superintendent Mark Friedman presented outgoing board member Jayson Tran with a plaque in recognition of his service to the community after serving for 11 years on the school board. Dr. Friedman said, “It is a noble thing to serve when you know the rewards are not tangible.” Mr. Tran thanked him. In a brief speech, he concluded, “My reward is seeing all the faces of the children that we impact.”

Dr. Friedman discussed the current student enrollment number, which is 4,453. He said this number reinforced the District’s resolution to pursue funds for an expansion effort due to the continuous growth in student population.  Other announcements included:

  • The groundbreaking for the new kindergarten building will be on May 6 at 11:30 a.m.
  • An official recommendation for the name of the new kindergarten building will be presented at the next board meeting. 
  • Returning student registration is currently open and will close on May 10. The online registration process replaces the traditional residency event.
  • The eighth-grade promotion ceremonies are on May 28.

Current board members Sonali Patil, Robin Cleek, Victoria Helander-Heiser, and George Fievet were sworn in for new terms. Joel Finfer was sworn in as a new board member.  The board voted on a new slate of officers. The new officers are:

  • President: Robin Cleek
  • Vice President: Wes Polen
  • Secretary: George Fievet 

The board meeting schedule for the 2019-2020 school year was approved. It is different from schedules of previous years. For the most part, the meetings will take place once per month on Thursdays. 

Board President Robin Cleek congratulated the Hawthorn Middle School North Science Olympiad team for coming in seventh out of 50 at the State Science Olympiad event. She also congratulated Middle School South for its production of “Oklahoma,” which received rave reviews, and the Middle School North Scholastic Bowl Team, which earned the regional championship title. Dr. Friedman congratulated Jamie Kahn, the Assistant Principal at Middle School South, who is leaving Hawthorn to join another school district.