Winnetka, Elections

Caucus candidates dominate race for New Trier High School Board

The three caucus-backed New Trier High School Board candidates cruised to victory on Election Night, April 4.

According to not-yet-official results from Cook County, Courtney McDonough (25.41%, 6,156 votes), incumbent Jean Hahn (24.91%, 6,037) and Sally Pofcher (24.51%, 5,940) topped their independent counterparts by a nearly three-to-one-margin to win the three available seats on the board of education.

Jennifer Yeo placed fourth with 2,287 votes followed by Blanca Zaragoza-Kaufman (1,909) and Bernie Hossfeld (1,902).

The New Trier School Board Caucus slated McDonough, Hahn and Pofcher in November, and the three ran a traditional local campaign with a website and multiple meet-and-greets.

In an emailed statement, Hahn thanked the slate’s competitors, the caucus and “all the friends and neighbors who supported our successful campaign.”

“I’d like to thank the voters for giving me the opportunity to continue my service to our community — working alongside my board colleagues and the administration to ensure that New Trier continues to provide the exceptional educational experience and strong fiscal stewardship our students, families, and taxpayers expect and deserve,” Hahn wrote.

The campaigns of Kaufman, Hossfeld and Yeo were relatively subdued until the final days before the election.

While the three participated in a forum and questionnaire from the League of Women Voters-Wilmette, they did not respond to The Record’s interview requests. Not one of the three had campaign websites or web pages until the final week of the campaign, when similarly designed websites for each of the candidates went live.

The trio also received late support from the New Trier Republication Organization via a letter sent out by the organization’s leadership urging local Republicans to “take back the School Board” by voting for Kaufman, Yeo and Hossfeld.

Hossfeld, a Wilmette resident and retired emergency-room nurse, told The Record that while disappointed, she is “really glad” that she ran and will remain involved in local schools.

“I’m not discouraged at all,” she said. “I’m glad I did it. I have no regrets whatsoever and I will learn from it. They’re going to be seeing me at a lot of School Board meetings.”

Just over 9,000 ballots were cast in the race, a turnout of 18.05 percent, according to the county. The total was nearly the same as in 2021, when 9,192 ballots were counted and four caucus-selected candidates handily bested independent challengers.

“I am proud of our endorsed candidates and pleased that the New Trier community once again trusted the caucus’s vetting process,” said David Eisenberg, outgoing chariperson of the New Trier School Board Caucus. “I look forward to seeing what these candidates do in the coming four years.”

McDonough, Hahn and Pofcher will be sworn into the New Trier High School Board during a spring meeting, taking seats alongside Keith Dronen, Kimberly Alcantara, Avik Das and Sally Tomlinson. Cathy Albrecht and Brad McLane will roll off the board.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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