New D65 superintendent looks to work with Northwestern

Sophia Bollag, City Editor

When Paul Goren takes over as the superintendent for Evanston/Skokie School District 65 in July, he said he hopes to collaborate with Northwestern and other community organizations to create a “learning ecology.”

Last month, the District 65 Board of Education chose Goren to replace former superintendent Hardy Murphy, who resigned in August.  

(Evanston/Skokie District 65 Superintendent Hardy Murphy resigns)

At its March 31 meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve Goren’s appointment.

“We are delighted to have Paul Goren join District 65’s talented group of teachers, administrators and support staff to serve the students in our district,” board president Tracy Quattrocki said in a news release. “We feel very fortunate to have such a talented educator ready to lead our efforts.”

Goren, an Evanston resident, said he is excited to step into his new role, emphasizing that he is looking forward to working with NU.

“I couldn’t be more pleased to be taking on this responsibility with colleagues at a world-class university who can be partners,” he said.

In particular, Goren said he wants to partner with researchers at NU to help close the racial achievement gap at District 65 schools.

Addressing the racial achievement gap has been one of the district’s priorities for years. Between 2009 and 2013, the achievement gap between black and white students increased on both reading and math tests, according to the district’s 2013 Accountability and Achievement Report.

Goren will assume the responsibilities of the superintendent position from interim superintendent Mary Brown and chief administrative officer Barbara Hiller. Brown and Hiller took on the duties of the superintendent’s office after Murphy resigned to pursue a career in consulting.

All three of Goren’s children attended District 65 schools — the youngest will graduate from Chute Middle School at the end of the year. Goren said his experience as a parent in the district will help him when he takes over as superintendent.

“I have an instant feedback group of three young teenagers now who have gone through Oakton Elementary School and Chute Middle School and on to Evanston Township High School,” Goren said. “As a parent, my wife and I hear the challenges and opportunities and concerns on a daily basis.”

He said communication among parents, teachers and students will be essential. He pointed to the recent controversy over the so-called leggings ban at Haven Middle School, one of the three middle schools in the district, as a situation that could have been avoided with better communication. He said the ultimate debate that was generated as a result over the dress code was positive.

(Parents, students protest Haven Middle School leggings policy)

“To have the expression of voice from parents and community members and kids is actually really important,” Goren said. “Maybe I’m a Pollyanna on all this. I think it was a nice example of engagement and putting issues on the table.”

Goren currently works as a senior vice president at the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning in Chicago. He also serves on the board for Youth Organizations Umbrella, an Evanston nonprofit that works with local schools.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @SophiaBollag