District 205 Board Approves Dr. Krista Rajanen as New Principal of Jackson Elementary School

District 205 Board Approves Dr. Krista Rajanen as New Principal of Jackson Elementary School



May 14, 2024 

District 205 Board Approves Dr. Krista Rajanen as New Principal of Jackson Elementary School

–  Bringing more than 14 years of diverse leadership experience spanning K-12 education –


Elmhurst, IL – The Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board of Education approved Dr. Krista Rajanen as the new principal of Jackson Elementary School.  Dr. Rajanen is set to begin her tenure on August 1, 2024.   


As part of the strategic plan, District 205 focuses on attracting and retaining high-quality, purpose driven educators to serve the diverse needs of all students.  Prior to, and during the process, the District sought feedback from the Jackson community about what they felt were important qualities for the next principal.  Through a survey, focus group, and participation in the interview process, the feedback from the Jackson community was critical  in ensuring we chose the right person as the next leader. Throughout the interview process, it was consistently clear that, among a pool of highly qualified candidates, Dr. Rajanen’s diverse experiences and proven successes aligned perfectly with both the District objectives and community feedback, making Dr. Rajanen the best candidate to assume the role of Principal at Jackson Elementary to ensure continued student growth and success.  


Dr. Rajanen has over 14 years in education, including classroom experience as a team leader and teacher, a resident high school principal, and, most recently as an Assistant Principal at Norwood Park Elementary School.  While serving at Norwood Park Elementary School, Dr. Rajanen successfully led a team to create and implement a process for leveraging the School Wide Improvement Team to accurately diagnose needs of the school and write a comprehensive action plan and roadmap for three-year cycles of improvement as well as lead the implementation of “Morning Meetings” and “Second Step” SEL program, leading to the increase of student trust in staff from 32% to 83% on a student needs survey.  


“The feedback and participation we received from our Jackson community was key throughout our search,” said Dr. Keisha Campbell, Elmhurst District 205 Superintendent. “It was imperative that the person we chose for this position was a proven leader in education and was someone that would continue to build on the tremendous groundwork that has been laid in partnership with all of the Jackson students, parents, and staff. From her diverse experience with staff, teachers, parents, and community members to ensure that all students receive a quality and well rounded education to the immense joy that she exudes for connecting with her students and families, we are excited to welcome Dr. Rajanen to District 205 and look forward to seeing her continue the great work that is already in motion there.”


There were a total of 52 applicants that applied for the principalship with 16 chosen for initial screenings and six of those applicants were selected to participate in first round interviews.  Following second round interviews, three applicants were chosen to be a part of an extensive third-round interview at Jackson Elementary School that included parents, board members, administrators, and Jackson staff.

Described by her current Principal as someone who “leads with empathy, compassion,high expectations, and knows what rigorous instruction sounds and looks like in a classroom,” Dr. Rajanen is an innovative leader who believes strongly in the importance of growing and developing both students and staff through collaborative and supportive leadership. Dr. Rajanen is a dedicated educator committed to nurturing strong and sustainable  systems to help communities thrive.  


“The Elmhurst School District is a treasure of a district and it is an honor to be considered for the role of principal at Jackson Elementary School - a true dream role for me,” shared Dr. Rajanen. “I lead from a place of building on individual and community strengths and I look forward to collaborating with the faculty, students, and parents to provide a nurturing and supportive learning environment where we can all work together for the continued success of our students and staff.”  

Dr. Rajanen received her Doctorate of Education from University of Illinois at Chicago. She also holds a Master of Arts in Special Education and a B.A. in Social Work from Pacific Lutheran University.  She has also received her ESL/Bilingual Certification from Roosevelt University.
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