Hinsdale Middle School assistant principal to lead Oak School

Martha Henrikson
Martha Henrikson

A familiar person in Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 is being recommended as the new Oak School principal.

Martha Henrikson has been the assistant principal at Hinsdale Middle School for the past seven years and will be recommended for final approval by the School Board at its Aug. 25 meeting.

Henrikson is scheduled to start work Aug. 18 at Oak and replaces Sean Walsh, who was promoted in the spring to a position as one of two directors of learning in District 181. Walsh was the Oak School principal for nine years.

Superintendent Don White said Henrikson is a great match for Oak School.

“She demonstrates a passion for providing servant leadership to all students, parents, and employees at Oak, and she also possesses an extremely strong skill set as an instructional leader.” White said, adding Henrikson’s work as assistant principal at HMS has allowed her opportunities to work with many Oak School parents and students.

Henrikson was chosen from a field of 51 applicants and more than 100 people who expressed interest in the Oak job. Five final candidates participated Aug. 13 in three phases during their final interview process: an interview with superintendent Don White and Assistant Superintendent of Learning Kurt Schneider, an interview with a group made up of parents, teachers, support staff and school building administrators; and a writing prompt opportunity during which a written response will be asked to a challenge presented by White.

White said all of the final five candidates were of high quality and that “finding the right match” was the key.

Henrikson, a Skokie resident, said she was thrilled to be chosen as the next Oak School principal.

“It is an honor to follow Mr. Walsh in this position,” she said. “Oak is a wonderful school community, with parents and staff members working together to provide a great education for students.”

White has not yet decided if a new assistant principal for HMS will be hired. He plans to talk with Principal Ruben Pena to consider what is needed.

Prior to her administrative experience at HMS, Henrikson taught orchestra and general music at the elementary and middle school levels for 17 years. She also has three years of collegiate teaching experience at Illinois Wesleyan University and Olivet Nazarene University and has twice served as interim principal for District 181 schools to fill short-term administrative openings.

Henrikson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She earned a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership from National-Louis University in Evanston.

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