Administration hires new principal

Board of education selects Jennifer Tyrrell as new principal

Principal Tyrrell meets LT faculty and staff at the Wellness Walk before school on Friday May 7 (photos by Randy Antlept).

Grace Moore, Reporter

LT hired a new principal, Jennifer Tyrrell, on April 19. She will be replacing Brian Waterman who was promoted to superintendent. 

Tyrrell was a physical education teacher and coach at Stagg High School from 2005-2009. Then, she became the division chair for physical education, health and driver education from 2009-2014. Later, she became the associate principal for instruction, still at Stagg High School, from 2014-2018. After that, she got the job as principal of Sandburg High School, where she has been working since 2018. She will start her new position at LT on July 1. 

“LT is such a special place, and I’m the type of person who can continue to help the school community thrive,” Tyrrell said. “What I hope to accomplish is becoming a part of the culture of LT.”

While Tyrrell was at Sandburg, she redesigned the Carl Sandburg School Improvement Plan (SIP), according to Tyrrell. It was redesigned so that it aligned with the Illinois School Report Card. It includes measurable goals within areas that she views as important. These areas include academic achievement of students, equity throughout the school, co-curricular participation and leadership service. 

Also while at Sandburg, Tyrrell and her leadership team created the Sandburg College and Career Readiness Scorecard. The scorecard is an improvement effort that allows for reflection and goal setting.

“It’s going to be super important next year that we create a lot of opportunities for connections, a lot of opportunities for engagement, we create a lot of fun, and we make sure we have a community feel at LT,” Tyrell said.

When the board of education at LT opened up the search, there were 40 candidates, but Tyrrell was their final choice. 

“Her combination of experience and her time as principal at Carl Sandburg, as well as personal experience, made us very confident that she is going to be a great addition to Lyons Township High School.” Director of Human Resources Edward Piotrowski said.

Retiring LT superintendent Timothy Kilrea had a good first impression as well. 

“What stands out to me is her genuine care for all students and her enthusiasm,” Kilrea said. “I think she will really connect well with our kids, our staff and our community.”

As a principal, Tyrrell strives to create relationships with the students, and she will continue to do this at LT, she said

“I’m proudest of the relationships I’ve developed along the way,” Tyrrell said. “I love the relationships I’ve built at Sandburg, and I hope we’ll have those same relationships at LT.”

Tyrrell and Waterman have also started working on her transition to principal, she said. They agreed that focusing leadership efforts on grading practices, transition to a 1:1 laptop environment, and equity and belonging efforts would be the most important in the coming years. 

“I’m excited and confident that she is going to bring a high level of integrity to this position, Waterman said. “She’s going to draw upon her experiences but also work collaboratively with our current students and staff and community to evolve what we do here as a school.” 

Tyrrell is leaving her position at Sandburg High School to be the principal here at LT.

“When you invest yourself in an [interview] process, of course you’re hopeful that you are the person that will be a good match for the school community, but when you pursue this when you’re [already] in a job that you really do love, there are certainly mixed emotions [about leaving],” she said.

Tyrrell has already started meeting with administrators and is preparing to meet with the school community even before she officially starts on July 1.