Dr. Phil Ehrhardt & Dr. Heidi Wennstrom
Dr. Phil Ehrhardt
Dr. Ehrhardt has over 40 years of experience in public education and recently retired from Benjamin School District 25 in West Chicago where he served as Superintendent for the past 12 years. Mainly based in Indianapolis, Indiana, he previously held roles as a Deputy Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent in MSD of Wayne Township and as an Assistant Superintendent in MSD of Decatur Township and Avon School Corp. He has also served as an assistant principal and teacher.
Phil believes that the purpose of education is to maximize the potential of each and every child in the areas of academics, social and emotional learning, and physical development. He has worked collaboratively with school boards, administrators, educators, families, and community partners to achieve this mission by keeping students at the center - even during difficult decisions.
In his most recent role as Superintendent, he led efforts to shift the district’s model for special education services so that students could stay within their local school district rather than attending an outside program. This change led to better service for students and lowered financial costs. He also focused on enhancing climate and culture by strengthening relationships among stakeholders and improving communication across the organization. These efforts were successful and for the past three years Benjamin School District 25 was named as a Chicago Tribune Top Workplace, based on an independant survey given to all educators. In addition, one of the district’s schools earned the distinction of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.
As Superintendent, Dr. Ehrhardt also focused on financial stability. He engaged both staff and community in implementing a number of cost saving measures, increased revenue through grants, and passed a referendum that resulted in lowered payment of bonds and actually decreased local homeowners’ debt service tax rate.
- Dr. Ehrhardt has earned the following degrees:
- Ed.D in School Administration, Indiana University
- M.S. in Educational Administration, Indiana State University
- B.S. in Elementary Education, Indiana State University
Dr. Ehrhardt has published work and presented on education issues both locally and nationally and has earned a number of honors, awards, and special recognitions.
Dr. Heidi Wennstrom
Dr. Wennstrom has over 30 years of service in public education and recently retired from Butler School District 53 where she served as Superintendent for the past six years. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning, and Technology in Northshore District 112 and Antioch District 34. She has also held roles as principal (Hillcrest Elementary School, Antioch) and as an elementary school teacher (Emmons District 33 and Libertyville District 70).
Heidi prides herself on actively building shared leadership and bringing people together to ensure children's optimal education experiences are achieved. She believes in building trust and respect through daily interactions and engaging educators, families, and community partners to ensure educational quality and equity are achieved for all students.
As superintendent, Heidi ensured a child-centered approach to education, creating a holistic pursuit of exemplary academic, social and emotional learning. She demonstrated her commitment daily to achieving educational equity and providing access to exceptional educational programming. She brings a student-focused, learning-centered culture that motivates, challenges and supports students and staff to reach their potential. In this role, Heidi reduced costs significantly while raising educational outcomes across demographics. She provided leadership and oversight of the entire educational program to ensure the highest quality, mentored principals and teachers, and led teams to achieve instructional growth through data-based decision-making. Educators and families who have worked with Heidi say she is an enthusiastic advocate for all children and that she works to establish meaningful relationships through honest and open communication. She has a demonstrated track record as an excellent financial steward who prioritizes the budget to achieve the highest outcomes for student and staff learning.
Dr. Wennstrom has earned the following degrees:
- Ed.D in Educational Leadership, National Louis University
- Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, Loyola University
- MA Educational Leadership, Northeastern Illinois University
- BA Elementary Education, Trinity International University
She has published work and presented on education issues both locally and nationally and has earned a number of honors, awards, and special recognitions.