Comings and Goings

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.