Highland Park, News

Dr. Chala Holland to take reins of District 113

Not much has come easy of late for Township High School District 113. But School Board members agreed that selecting the district’s next superintendent was a pleasure.

“I can’t begin to tell you how extraordinarily privileged we are to have her be our next superintendent,” board member Jodi Shapira said on Tuesday.

The Township High School District 113 School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of hiring Dr. Chala Holland to a three-year contract beginning July 1.

The announcement, which was made in the wake of tense board proceedings, followed a nationwide search after Superintendent Dr. Bruce Law informed the board of his pending retirement last summer. Holland currently serves as the assistant superintendent administrative services for high schools at Naperville Community Unit School District 203 and previously was principal for nearby Lake Forest High School.

Holland told the board and community that she is looking forward to collaborating with staff members, district families and students “toward our shared goals of providing opportunities for each student to be seen, valued and to reach their full potential and I really can’t wait to get started.

In a press release, Holland also said, “Since the beginning of my career in education, I have held Township High School District 113 in high esteem, closely following and admiring its remarkable dedication to student success. … I am excited to become a member of the communities served by the district and I pledge my utmost dedication to creating learning environments that enable every student to flourish.”

Holland began her career in education at Evanston Township High School, where she spent 10 years as a teacher and administrator. She has also served in positions at Oak Park-River Forest and Lake Forest high schools.

In her current role in Naperville, Holland advocates for improvements “that not only enhance growth and achievement outcomes for all students but also to redefine the very nature of learning and teaching in the modern age,” according to the release from the district.

Holland will replace Law at District 113, which operates Highland Park and Deerfield high schools and their 3,000-plus students. She will become the district’s eighth superintendent in 10 school years when she takes over this summer.

Law replaced interim co-superintendents Linda Yonke (former New Trier High School superintendent) and Ben Martindale, who were called in after the district forced out Chris Dignam in 2018.

Dignam, who was named superintendent in 2016, left amid a litany of staff complaints in the middle of his five-year contract. Prior to Dignam, the district had three superintendents in a two-year span, including one, Laurie Kimbrel, who was hired but requested out of her contract before she began.

The district feels it has hired a special candidate in Holland. Board President Anne Neumann said that Holland stood out and the district is lucky to have her.

“It was clear as we moved through this process, from all the feedback we gathered through surveys and interviews with multiple stakeholder groups, to the discussions we held as a Board, that Dr. Holland emerged as the transformative and visionary leader uniquely qualified to propel District 113 forward,” Neumann said in the release. “Not only are her credentials outstanding, Dr. Holland’s work demonstrates her tireless and unwavering commitment to ensure that every student, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to excel and succeed in District 113.”

Holland’s approved contract expires in 2027; however, other details were not available by press time. When they become available, this story will be updated.

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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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