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New Trier News

Sally set to retire in June 2025, search for successor underway

After seven years as New Trier superintendent, Paul Sally is ready to pass the reigns to someone new
New Trier High School
Dr. Paul Sally, who has served as superintendent since 2017, will retire June 30, 2025

The search for New Trier High School’s next superintendent is underway with the announcement of Dr. Paul Sally’s retirement for June 30, 2025, at the Board of Education meeting on May 20. 

Having served at New Trier as a math teacher, department coordinator, and associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction prior to assuming the role of superintendent in 2017, Sally appreciates everything New Trier has done for him, and hopes that he has improved the experience of students, staff, and community members. 

I am honored that I am going to retire in the place that nurtured me as a new educator three decades ago.

— Dr. Paul Sally

“I cannot think of a better place to work than New Trier and I am honored that I am going to retire in the place that nurtured me as a new educator three decades ago,” Sally said. “New Trier is a wonderful school with amazing students and families and a staff that is second to none.” 

After consulting with the board, Sally made the decision to retire at the end of the 2024-2025 school year two years ago. 

“[Sally] graciously agreed with us to extend his contract an additional year…so he could see through some important strategic initiatives and to give us ample time to seek his successor,” Board President Jean Hahn said.  

Hahn took a moment at the board meeting to acknowledge Sally for his kindness, compassion, and genuine care for the New Trier community, as well as New Trier’s accomplishments under his leadership. 

Sally spearheaded the comprehensive, long-term strategic plan, New Trier 2030, which helped lead to significant facility and security improvements, to the creation of the Graduation Class Teams, and to continue fostering a welcoming environment at New Trier. He also oversaw New Trier during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I will leave most of the celebrations of Paul [Sally]’s legacy to a year from now, since undoubtedly he will continue to move our district forward in the coming year,” Hahn said. 

After Hahn and Sally spoke, the board went on to vote unanimously, with the absence of board member Sally Tomlinson, to approve a contract with Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), an educational consulting firm with over 30 years of experience, to assist New Trier in a national search for New Trier’s next superintendent.

Board member Keith Dronen shared that Glen “Max” McGee, Constance “Connie” Collins, and Brian Harris, representatives from HYA, will speak to the board at the July meeting. They will discuss next steps, which include developing a superintendent profile on what the ideal candidate would look like. 

Dronen and Hahn were asked by the board in January to make a recommendation on what firm to use. 

After researching five regional and national search organizations, HYA was selected due to “recent local and national high school superintendent search experience, knowledge of New Trier culture, and strategic insights and experiences.”

HYA recommends a four phase search process for a new superintendent that takes four months. The process includes engaging with the community to understand what they want in a new leader, recruiting a wide, diverse pool of candidates, selecting candidates for the board to review, and supporting the new superintendent and board during the transition. The board will make the ultimate decision on who to hire, not HYA. 

The last time the board searched for a new superintendent was when Dr. Linda Yonke retired in 2017. The board used School Exec Connect to facilitate the search process and approved a contract with them in June 2016. Five months later, after 35 candidates were considered for the position, Sally came out on top.

As the board works with HYA over the next year, Sally hopes to help the transition in any way he can as he continues his work as superintendent. 

“Over the next year, I will be focusing on supporting the development of our Graduating Class Teams, enhancing our culture of belonging, thoughtfully integrating ideas that will develop from the future programing initiatives, and continuing to ensure that our school environment allows everyone in our school to thrive—students, staff, and families—and strive to fulfill our motto,” Sally said. 

Hahn said that the next superintendent has a huge legacy to follow.

“We know we have big shoes to fill,” Hahn said. 

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