LaRaviere wins presidency of principals’ group–and a bigger platform to criticize the mayor

Photo by Michelle Kanaar

Troy LaRaviere , the new head of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, sat down in 2014 for a roundtable interview with other principals at Catalyst.

After a highly publicized election, the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association announced Thursday that outspoken mayoral critic Troy LaRaviere will become the organization’s next president.

Winning 69.1 percent of the vote, LaRaviere will begin his three-year term on July 1. The association won’t say how many ballots were cast in the election, in which LaRaviere faced off against current CPAA Vice President Kenneth Hunter. Hunter’s arrest on misdemeanor electronic harassment charges drew even more attention to an election for a group that has typically never drawn much public notice.

“It is a humbling honor to have been chosen by my colleagues to lead the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association (CPAA). I want you all to know I plan on bringing everyone’s voice to the table,” LaRaviere posted on his blog Thursday.

LaRaviere, who served as principal of Blaine Elementary in Lakeview, was thrust into the national spotlight last month after CPS removed him from his post. LaRaviere, an outspoken critic of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s education policies, and his supporters viewed the reassignment as a political move to keep LaRaviere from gaining a more public platform at the CPAA president’s office.

The district’s charges against him included insubordination for encouraging students to opt out of the required PARCC exam and refusing to finish paperwork for teacher evaluations.

As president of CPAA, LaRaviere will leave his post at Blaine. It is unclear how CPS’ efforts to fire him will be affected, DNAinfo reports.

Outgoing CPAA President Clarice Berry said she and others noted that the highly controversial and public reassignment—presidential candidate Bernie Sanders even weighed in, after LaRaviere appeared in an ad on behalf of Sanders’ campaign—gave LaRaviere access to free publicity that his opponent did not have. LaRaviere countered that his opponent was able to campaign during school hours and on school property, something he couldn’t do since he was banned from CPS property under the reassignment.

Hunter’s arrest on harassment charges, for allegedly texting a woman repeatedly even after she asked him to stop, cost him the support of top district officials Janice Jackson and Denise Little.

Jackson and Little withdrew their support after signing his petition to run against LaRaviere. The Chicago Sun-Times later wrote that, while still principal at Prosser Academy, Hunter had been formally warned by the district for failing to tell staff about required background checks for employees. As a result, two coaches were hired who were later involved in improprieties involving students.