Meet Our Superintendent


Dr. Leah Gauthier


Dr. GauthierDistrict 401's Superintendent of Schools is Dr. Leah Gauthier. After serving as head of curriculum and instruction for three years, she succeeded Dr. Nicolas Wade as leader of the District on Aug. 1, 2020.

Dr. Gauthier began her career as a classroom teacher in the Howard-Suamico School District in Howard, Wisc., from August 2001 to August 2003. She then moved to Bensenville, Ill., where she taught 2nd and 3rd grade classes in Bensenville School District 2 for five years.

In August 2008, she became a math specialist for District 2. In that role, Dr. Gauthier created the district's summer school math curriculum, worked with students who were at the beginning stage in math, and supported teachers during the initial transition to the math Common Core State Standards.

Dr. Gauthier then became learning coordinator for District 2 in August 2012. Her responsibilities included facilitating demonstration classrooms, providing direction and support to teachers as they designed student growth assessments, and modeling implementation of the Common Core State Standards to support professional development at all grade levels.

Beginning in July 2014, Dr. Gauthier served as District 2's director of instructional services, a position she held until being named District 401's Director for Curriculum and Instruction in 2017. (Her title became Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction on July 1, 2020.)

From July 2017 to July 2020, she oversaw a series of major instructional and curricular changes in District 401. These included the adoption of new curricula aligned to Common Core State Standards and articulated in grades K-12, the integration of technology into the classroom through the use of e-texts and Google apps, and the development of a Standards-Based Report Card in grades K-5.

During her tenure as head of curriculum and instruction, she also:

  • Led and supported all professional development in the District for grades PK-12.
  • Led and supported the growth and development of principals and assistant principals in the District.
  • Facilitated multiple committees, including the District Joint Committee, MTSS Committee, Full-Day Kindergarten Committee, Standards-Based Grading Committee and Competency-Based Education Committee.
  • Directed the District's English Learners program beginning in 2018-19.
  • Led and supported the District's Bilingual Parents Advisory Committee. 
  • Led and supported the District's Summer Academy programs. 
  • Led and supported the District's Accelerated Placement Act policy. 
  • Served on the team that created the College and Career Pathways for Elm Middle School and Elmwood Park High School.
  • Served on the team that created the District's e-learning guidance.

Dr. Gauthier earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Western Michigan University in 2001. She earned two master's degrees, one in education curriculum and creative writing from Lesley University in Boston (2005) and the other in school leadership and administration from Concordia University in River Forest (2010).

In 2017, she received her doctorate in educational leadership from National Louis University in Chicago. Dr. Gauthier has an English as a Second Language endorsement as well, also from National Louis University (2011).