Comings and Goings

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ON CLARK STREET Former Gage Park High School Principal Audrey Donaldson has returned to the Chicago Public Schools from Washington D.C., where she served briefly as assistant superintendent; she is now officer of Curriculum, Instruction, Research and Professional Development. She succeeds Lula Ford, who is now the CPS education liaison to the Chicago Housing Authority. … Natalye Paquin, senior assistant to Reform Board President Gery Chico, has succeeded Diane Minor as Chief Purchasing Officer. Minor is now the chief administrative officer for the Chicago Park District. … Flavia Hernandez, former principal of the Ortiz de Domingues Primary Center, is now the chief officer of Early Childhood Programs, and Velma Thomas is continuing as director of that office. … Carlos Ponce, the director of Human Resources, has a new title, chief human resources officer.

MOVING IN/ON Sen. Arthur L. Berman (D-Chicago), a widely recognized authority on Chicago schools and Illinois education, has announced he will not seek re-election when his current term expires in January 2001. Berman, 64, an attorney, was elected to the Illinois House in 1968, the Illinois Senate in 1976 and, after 30 years as a legislator, is the longest-serving Democrat in the Illinois General Assembly. He was a principal sponsor of the 1988 Chicago School Reform Act, the 1992 proposed state constitutional amendment on education finance, and 1997school finance reform laws. … Chicago consultant Sharon Gist Gilliam, chair of the Chicago Housing Authority board, has resigned from the Illinois State Board of Education following nearly three years of service. She has yet to be replaced by Gov. George H. Ryan. … Molly Carroll, an assistant director of the Chicago Teachers Union Quest Center, has become a field representative for the union. … Sharon Ransom, former director of Northeastern Illinois University’s Interactive Teaching and Learning Project, has moved to the University of Illinois at Chicago as the director of Achieving High Standards and a School of Education visiting lecturer.

PRINCIPALS DuSable High School Principal Charles Mingo has retired after 35 years in CPS, the last 11 as head of DuSable. A recipient of the Milken National Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation and the Illinois State Board of Education and the Excellence Award from ISBE, Mingo is now the principal of Beckman Middle School in Gary, Ind. Loretta Lesley, formerly assistant principal at Von Steuben High, is serving as interim principal at DuSable.

The following principals have had their contracts renewed: Shirley Antwi-Barfi, Jensen/Miller C.P.C; Lionel Bordelon, Kozminiski; John H. Bradley, Jr., Songhai; James Cosme, Otis; Vera L. Green, Green; Lawrence Turner, Mann; and Sharon Wilcher, Ward. … First-time principal contracts have been awarded to Lenora Austin, Westcott; James A. Gorecki, Byrne; Amanda Rivera, Ames; Joyce Smith, Richards; and Brenda Thomas, Marquette East.

The following assistant principals have been named interim principals: Sandra James, Twain; Shirley Johnson, Robinson; Jerryelyn Jones, Curie; Rayna Murphy, Burnside; and Rita Ward, Robinson. Annie Camacho of Logandale has been named interim principal at Northwest Middle School. Lennette Coleman has moved from head teacher to interim principal at Ariel Community Academy. Gloria Davis has moved from interim principal at Medill Intermediate to interim principal at Suder. Guadalupe Shields, former interim principal at Gale, has been named interim principal at LeMoyne. Joyce Smith, former assistant principal of Little Village Academy, has been named interim principal at Richards Academy. Juana Rivera-Vidal, former teacher at Davis Academy, has been appointed interim principal at Washington High, and Dean Gustafson from Schools and Regions has been named interim principal at Woodlawn. Jo Anne Roberts, an associate principal installed by central office at Lindblom, has been named interim principal; former principal Cheryl Rutherford has moved to central office.

COURT-WATCH I: Plea Bargain On Aug. 20, prosecutors from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office cut a deal with embattled activist Omar Shareef, president of the African American Contractors Association (AACA). (See Catalyst, June 1998.) Prosecutors dropped three felony charges against Shareef in exchange for a guilty plea to a misdemeanor theft charge, with a sentence of 18 months probation.

Shareef claims that the charges were part of a political vendetta against him by schools chief Paul Vallas. Shareef and Vallas were political allies briefly in 1996, but the relationship quickly soured. The States Attorney’s office filed charges on behalf of the board in March 1998. Vallas has flatly denied that the case against Shareef was political in nature.

COURT-WATCH II: Case Dismissed On Aug. 13, a dissident faction of the Chicago Teachers Union lost its bid to void last October’s vote on the union’s current four-year contract with the Chicago Public Schools. Members of the group, Pro-Active Chicago Teachers (PACT), had filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against the union, charging vote fraud.

Judge Albert Green, who had allowed PACT attorneys to examine school-by-school vote totals, dismissed the case, ruling that the plaintiffs had produced “no genuine issues or material fact” nor “one shred of evidence to support their claims.”

Both sides acknowledge there were some discrepancies between the school-by-school tallies and the citywide totals announced by the union last fall, but both sides say that those discrepancies would not have altered the outcome of the ratification vote. PACT’s attorney, Matthew Piers, says that in his opinion, the discrepancies in the tallies are enough to warrant a look at the ballots themselves, but he failed to convince Judge Green on this point.

COURT-WATCH III: Out of Order On Aug. 3, a circuit court judge reprimanded the School Board for violating the rights of homeless children and their families. Under the settlement terms of a 1996 class-action lawsuit, when homeless families move to a shelter in a different part of town, the school system must provide transportation and other help so that children can stay in their original school, without disrupting their education. In his ruling, Judge Michael Getty found that board staff routinely failed to fulfill these and other obligations.

Characterizing the board’s practices as “ludicrous” and “unacceptable,” Getty issued a dozen specific orders for the board. They include “an immediate and massive informational campaign addressing the rights of the homeless”; extensive new training for principals, clerks and liaisons; and the appointment of an independent monitor.

Getty has appointed recently retired Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sheila Murphy as the monitor; board officials have replaced Louisea Storey as head of the Homeless Education Program with Mary Kelly Dowd.

Comings and goings

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MOVING IN/ON John Ostenburg has been named editor of the Chicago Union Teacher, replacing Ellen Brown, who is relocating to Boulder, Colo. He has worked as a teacher and as a newspaper reporter and editor. Ostenburg has also served as a state representative from the south suburban 80th District. … Father John Pollard has been named director of the newly formed Department of Education of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Previously, Pollard was director of the Office for the Catechism of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

PRINCIPALS The following have been named interim principals: Frank Lacey, assistant principal at Gage Park High, Gage Park; Alan Molesky, assistant principal at Kellogg, Barnard Computer Math and Science. … The following principals have retired: Phyliss Charles, Hitch; Rita Mitchell, Carter; Julius Gore, Kershaw; Maurice Haynes, Copernicus; James Sanders, Webster; and Philip Yaccino, Mozart. … Ginger Bryant, the interim principal at Sexton Elementary, has received a four-year contract.

AWARDS AND HONORS Reform Board President Gery Chico is one of six recipients of DePaul University’s newly established Tree of Wisdom Award, sponsored by the School of Education. … Joanne Alter, founder of Working In The Schools (WITS), received a local Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Service. Alter was one of seven who was recognized by NBC 5 Chicago and AMERICAID Community Care for achievements in volunteerism and public service. … The Chicago Public Schools Summer Bridge Program is one of 97 semifinalists in the 1998 Innovations in American Government awards program sponsored by the Ford Foundation. There were 1,400 applicants.

MORE NEW CHARTERS The Reform Board has approved two more charter schools: The Betty Shabazz International Charter in Grand Crossing, featuring a K-8 Afrocentric curriculum; and the Noble Street Charter High School, a college-prep school in the Northwestern University Settlement in West Town.

PUBLICATIONS The 1998 Illinois School Code is now available from the Illinois Association of School Boards for $20 ($15 for IASB member school districts) plus $4 shipping. For more information, call or write IASB Publications, 430 East Vine St., Springfield, IL 62703; (217) 528-9688. Or fax orders to (217) 528-2831. … An updated version of the book “Celebrating Chicago Public Schools,” which contains descriptions of more than 100 exemplary programs in the Chicago public schools, is available from the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. Contact Sylvia Alvino at (312) 263-7767, ext. 15.

TEACHER WORKSHOP The Teachers’ Task Force is sponsoring a three-day conference on curriculum development and alignment for elementary school teachers. The conference will be held twice: June 29, 30 and July l; and Aug. 10, 11 and 12. For more information, call Melissa McGowan at (312) 986-9238.

SCHOOL CHANGES Hearst Elementary has gone to a year-round schedule. … De La Cruz Math and Science Specialty School is now De La Cruz Math, Science and Technology Academy. …The Annie Keller Gifted Magnet School is now the Annie Keller Regional Gifted Center and will be open to students citywide.

READING PROGRAM The Chicago Public Schools has been selected as Illinois’ pilot site for President Clinton’s “America Reads Challenge: Read*Write*Now!,” a summer reading program designed to encourage a strong literacy base in students by 3rd grade. Forty-two schools will participate; each week students will spend one hour with tutors and learning partners on reading, learning new vocabulary words and visiting a library. Community residents and college students will be trained as volunteer tutors; more than 20,000 early childhood and primary school-aged children are expected to participate.

LSC ELECTIONS REPORT Following a decline in candidates for the last local school council election, Leadership for Quality Education has issued a report recommending election changes. Call Dany Fleming at (312) 853-1216 for a free copy.

Comings and Goings

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MOVING IN/ON The Chicago Annenberg Challenge has hired three new staffers. Pat Ford, west area director for the Chicago Youth Center, is the new program director; Lisa Moultrie, education specialist at the Chicago Urban League, is program officer; and Gopika Gajjar, a recent graduate of Harvard University’s Master’s degree program in education and former staffer at Teach for America, is now chief financial officer. … Todd Rosenkranz has left the Chicago Panel on School Policy to take the position of education specialist at the Chicago Urban League. … Chris Warden has left the Chicago Education Network to join the Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform, where she will train parents in several cities to analyze school system budgets. … Leadership for Quality Education has hired Esther Mosak, a former Chicago public school teacher, as outreach director, and Margaret Lin, a recent graduate of Stanford University School of Law, as coordinator of LQE’s Charter School Project. Lin has taught in Japan and has worked for the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Policy Studies.

NEW LOBBYISTS The Reform Board is spending $105,000 to hire three consultants to “provide ongoing intergovernmental services … with members of the executive and legislative bodies in Washington, D.C. and Springfield” through June 1997. In Springfield: Rick Larison, currently a liaison between the board and state government and a former staff member for House Speaker Lee Daniels (R-Elmhurst); and former Rep. Paul L. Williams. In Washington, D.C.: Charles “Chuck” Pizer, a liaison between the office of Mayor Richard M. Daley and the federal government and a member of former U.S. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski’s staff. Richard Guidice, also a former state legislator, and Greg Richmond, a former Illinois Senate staffer, continue to work full-time for the board on government relations.

NEW NAME Scanlan Elementary School has adopted a new name, the Songhai Learning Institute, after the Songhai Empire, a 16th Century kingdom in the Sudan region of West Africa.

PRINCIPALS Carol R. Gearing, a teacher at Carver High, has been named principal of Hendricks Community Academy. … Thomas Quinn, interim principal of West Pullman Elementary, has been named principal.

HARASSMENT SETTLEMENT Evangeline Levison, former director of affirmative action, has received a $141,918 settlement from the board in her sexual harassment case against Michael Rankin, former director of procurement. Levison was fired in May 1995 after filing a harassment complaint against Rankin with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; she also contended that she had been fired for helping state and federal authorities investigate Sharon Grant, the former board president who pled guilty to tax evasion last year. The EEOC ruled in Levison’s favor a year ago.

EARLY CHILDHOOD AWARD Dec. 1 is the deadline to nominate teachers for the 2nd Annual Kohl/McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Award. Five winners will each receive $5,000 in cash and a year’s worth of free interactive classroom programming designed by the Kohl Children’s Museum. Nominees must be full-time teachers in the six-county Chicago metro area, with at least three years of experience teaching in public or private preschools, child care centers, Head Start programs, licensed day care homes or kindergarten through 3rd-grade classes. Nomination forms are available at early childhood sites around the city. For more information or to nominate a teacher, call (312) 335-KIDS.