New Trier mourns loss of beloved leader, student mentor


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Tim Estberg, a 15-year veteran choral teacher who led the Music and Media, Speech & Theatre Departments on New Trier High School's freshman campus, passed away August 28th following a recent diagnosis of cancer.

Estberg was a mentor and role model for countless students during his time at New Trier, serving as a longtime freshman boys' adviser and sponsor of several student groups, including the student-led variety show Lagniappe-Potpourri, numerous plays and musicals, and the gay-straight student alliance Committed to Action. He also was part of several District leadership groups and committees.

"Tim's passion for teaching and for creating a safe, welcoming environment for all students shone through in his many leadership roles at New Trier," said Dr. Linda Yonke, Superintendent of New Trier Township District 203. "I will remember him most as a passionate advocate of the arts, enthusiastically leading a choral group in song. He was an advocate for some of our most vulnerable students, a mentor to the young men in his adviser groups and an outstanding teacher and musician. Tim also was a friend whose positive, caring attitude made New Trier a better place. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family during this difficult time."

Estberg was part of the original leadership group when the Northfield Campus, formerly New Trier West, reopened as a freshman-only campus in 2001. In addition to his leadership roles on the campus, he taught freshman boys' and girls' choral classes and helped start a tradition of having those groups sing at staff luncheons celebrating winter break and the end of the school year.

"Tim had an unusual ability to make each student that he came into contact with feel special and to help each find a love of singing that they never knew they had," said Music Department Chair David Ladd. "This is a profound loss for the New Trier community."

New Trier has its team of social workers available for students who may need to talk to someone about the news.