District History

  • Early History

    School District 2 was formed in April, 1885, a year after the village of Bensenville was incorporated with George Cogswell as the first president and Herman Korthauer as the first clerk. A month later, the newly formed school district bought property for a school building. From plans drawn by Herman Korthauer, a two-story frame school was built.

    By 1900, almost 100 pupils attended Green Street School, a facility that had been staffed by two teachers and a principal. In 1916, the frame building became too crowded and was condemned by public authorities. The new Green Street School opened in 1917 with four teachers and the principal, Leo Fredericks. The school had four rooms on the first floor, two grades to an elementary school room. In an auditorium on the second floor, the first Bensenville high school was begun in 1917. After Leo Fredericks resigned to enter the military, George Sykes was named as principal. In June 1921, Frederick C. Fenton was named principal.

    Growth & Expansion

    As the population of District 2 increased, the school district had to reorganize to form a seven-member board. In April, 1922, Jessie O. Capoot, Harry Geils, George Runge, Carleton Brown, George F. Breutner, W.A. Ernsting, and J.C. Geils were elected to the board and Mr. Fenton's title was changed to Superintendent. Over the years as the population of Bensenville grew and the number of children attending District 2 schools increased, portable classrooms were added and a portion of the upstairs was used for elementary classes. In early 1925, Community High School District 100 was organized. A dispute over boundaries for the new District 100 was settled by action of the State Supreme Court in 1926. Wesley Johnson was hired that same year as the first science teacher, athletic coach, and assistant principal.

    Construction of a new high school began in 1926 with Frederick Fenton serving as both superintendent of District 100 and District 2, a position he held until his death in 1943. The Board of Education purchased Tioga School in 1930. The high school was purchased by District 2 years later and named Blackhawk Junior High School with Mrs. Vivian Turner as the first principal.

    Following a post World War II building boom, Mohawk School was built in 1955, W. A. Johnson School was built in 1958. The current Blackhawk Middle School opened on Church Road in 1965 and the former high school became Chippewa Elementary School.

    Chippewa School was closed in June 2011. The student population was merged with Tioga in the expanded school.

    Mohawk School was closed in December 2011 and merged with W.A. Johnson School in the expanded and renovated school.


    Bensenville Elementary School District 2 has been served by eight superintendents. Following Frederick Fenton's death, Wesley Johnson was named Superintendent, a post he held until 1964. The next superintendent was Dr. Martin Zuckerman who served until 1971 when Dr. James Coad was named Superintendent for both District 2 and District 100. The two districts voted to split and establish separate administration in 1983. Dr. Coad continued to serve as Superintendent of Schools for District 2 until he retired in 1988. He was succeeded by Dr. Kenneth Kaufman, the Assistant Superintendent, who served until 1991. Dr. Thomas Eason served as Superintendent between 1991 and 1992.

    Between August, 1992 and June, 1999, Dr. Cesare Caldarelli Jr. served as Superintendent of Schools. During Dr. Caldarelli's tenure the District began to restructure its curriculum to better meet the needs of learners, built a major addition onto Blackhawk Middle School, brought technology and Internet access to classrooms at each of the five schools, and in partnership with the Bensenville Community Public Library built the Lifelong Learning Center and the Educational Administration Center.

    In July 1999 Dr. Donna C. Joy became the District’s eighth Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Joy committed her superintendency to continuing the District’s tradition of excellence by offering quality instruction, assessments geared to improving student learning, setting high academic expectations, and meeting the rigorous learning standards set by the State of Illinois.

    In the 2002-2003 school year, interim superintendents, Dr. Stephen Berry and Dr. Thomas Rich, were at the helm as the District conducted a nationwide search for a new educational leader. Dr. William Jordan met the profile of the community’s ideal superintendent and took over the reins in July 2003.

    Dr. William Jordan served from 2003 to 2010. Dr. Jordan’s initial mission as Superintendent was to implement the District’s Strategic Plan. The plan touched on all aspects of the District’s future, though central to a successful implementation of the plan is an increase in student achievement.

    Dr. James Stelter was appointed Superintendent July 1, 2010. Dr. Stelter joined the district as Assistant Superintendent for Business Services in 2003 and served as Associate Superintendent for the 2009-2010 school year.