Mann Principal resignation to be finalized Monday evening

D97 school board scheduled to take action at around 7:45 p.m.


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

The Oak Park District 97 Board of Education will officially take action on Sam LeDeaux's resignation as Mann principal at around 7:30 p.m. Monday.

The D97 Board of Education has several items on its agenda and executive sessions scheduled for Monday's special meeting, which began at 4 p.m. in the board room of D97 headquarters, 970 Madison.
Just one parent, Nara Schoenberg, showed up to speak during public comments, expressing her disappointment about LeDeaux's resignation. The D97 board adjourned at around 4:15 p.m. and entered into closed session.

The school board will take action on LeDeaux later this evening in open session. The district announced LeDeaux's resignation on Friday in a joint statement with the principal and Supt. Al Roberts. LeDeaux will remain principal through June and help with the transition of the school's new leader. This will be the third principal for Mann in two years.

Schoenberg, who spoke with Wednesday Journal after the board adjourned, said she and other parents feel they weren't truly heard by the board or Roberts. The process overall should have been more transparent, she added.

"This was kind of a last stand--the one lone parent speaking," she said of Monday's meeting. "The broad feeling among parents is that we've lost on this one. We've had a great year and a half with Mr. LeDeaux and are sad to see him leave."

For the second time in two years, Oak Park's Mann Elementary School is in search of a new principal.

Late Friday, District 97 announced that Principal Sam LeDeaux has resigned but will remain the school's principal through the end of the school year. A special meeting had been scheduled for Monday, March 31, concerning LeDeaux's future with the district.

According to a joint statement released Friday by LeDeaux and Supt. Al Roberts, the two administrators admitted they did not always see eye-to-eye on Mann's future.

"During the past few weeks, the two of us have discussed the vision for Mann School. While it is true that we have not been in lockstep on every issue, we have always shared a strong, vested interest in Mann's success and the creation of a productive, nurturing learning environment. … Although progress has been made in this critical endeavor, we have come to the conclusion that a change in leadership is best for everyone involved," the statement read.

LeDeaux, 37, had been an assistant principal at both Longfellow Elementary and Julian Middle School before becoming Mann's principal in 2012. He replaced Nimisha Kumar, who resigned that June following a D97 investigation that concluded the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) was inappropriately administered by Mann staff.

The joint statement released Friday acknowledged the school's leadership unrest.

"We realize that change is often unpopular. We also understand and appreciate that having three principals over a two-year time period is not ideal for any school. However, we are firmly committed to working together between now and the end of the school year to ensure that the transition to a new leader is as smooth and seamless as possible."

LeDeaux, according to the statement, will help in that transition.

His resignation is a blow to many Mann parents who over the last three weeks mounted a public campaign to keep LeDeaux as principal. On March 18, about 60 parents attended the District 97 school board to express support for LeDeaux. Many wore "Mann" T-shirts and buttons reading, "We Stand With Sam." Parents also put up a Facebook page in support of LeDeaux.

A native of Evanston, LeDeaux was a Chicago Public Schools teacher before being hired at D97. He applied for the Mann principal post when it became vacant in 2012. Monday's special board meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. at D97 headquarters, 970 Madison, in the board room.

LeDeaux's resignation is expected to be submitted to, and accepted by, the board at that meeting, according to D97 spokesperson Chris Jasculca. 

Joint statement from Sam LeDeaux and Superintendent Al Roberts from D97

During the past few weeks, the two of us have discussed the vision for Mann School. While it is true that we have not been in lockstep on every issue, we have always shared a strong, vested interest in Mann's success and the creation of a productive, nurturing learning environment aimed at fostering the growth and development of our students.

Although progress has been made in this critical endeavor, we have come to the conclusion that a change in leadership is best for everyone involved.

We realize that change is often unpopular. We also understand and appreciate that having three principals over a two-year time period is not ideal for any school. However, we are firmly committed to working together between now and the end of the school year to ensure that the transition to a new leader is as smooth and seamless as possible. In addition, we are hopeful that the members of the community will accept the district's invitation to aid in the principal search. Your feedback is both valued and vital to the success of this important process.

With the joint resolution of this matter, we will turn our attention to the remainder of this school year and the work that must be accomplished in the days ahead. We want to thank everyone who has raised questions, offered their insight or expressed their views regarding this important matter. Your steadfast commitment to our schools and the children we serve is a testament to the character and integrity of the citizens of Oak Park.


Reader Comments

124 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Emily Meszaros from Oak Park  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 9:53 PM

I'm a Mann parent and have been for 4 years. I don't live in a mansion, 1/2 mansion or anything close to it. I want to speak out for those of us "on Harlem" and say that the stereotyping of Mann kids and their parents is really outdated and foolish. Look me up- I'm a regular lady who wants her kids to have a good education. This situation is really tough- for our kids, above all else - and I'm glad that the other schools in town are not dealing with such an issue.

Wendy from River Forest  

Posted: April 8th, 2014 9:34 PM

I do hope you all get this sorted out for the sake of the kids. Our principal has been our leader and our rock, she leads the ship and I really believe that consistency is imperative for young kids. Can't tell the name of my middle school principal, but could tell you everything about my grade school principal! Important years for those little minds. And don't be so hard on those board members, they owe the community excellence for paying those high taxes.

Mann rules  

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 7:48 PM

Everyone rides on the tail of Mann school. We pay the most taxes


Posted: April 2nd, 2014 8:44 AM

Worry not, dear parents. Teachers in question have rightly been branded with scarlet D97 tattoos and cast out of our perfect garden, condemned to eat dust the rest of their lives.

The other schools  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 11:56 PM

Mann isn't the only D97 school? Who knew? Oh, just 7 other elementary school communities including one waiting word on two teachers.


Posted: April 1st, 2014 10:27 PM

If your players are great, does that make you a better coach?

Another Non Mann Parent  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 3:54 PM

@Non Mann Parent...yes, stupid indeed! And Mann's principal was not the only one whose contract was up for renewal. The outcome of all of this will speak volumes about the Supt. and what he's willing to turn a blind eye toward (which, I thought was nothing, "his way or the highway"...but I could be wrong on this one!).

@Test Scores  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 3:45 PM

May want to check on the latest numbers. Not sure that is true after the erasing parties stopped.

Non Mann Parent  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 3:36 PM

I would characterize it less as "disturbing" and more as "human" "sad" and "really really stupid". But yes, let's argue about it on the grapevines and playgrounds like normal people, and leave this comment section to the Mann parents and their terrific test scores.

Another Non Mann Parent  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 3:24 PM

Terry Dean missed a much more interesting (and disturbing) story by not reporting on or investigating the disciplinary actions that were pending against the two teachers from "another school". Guess we will have to learn through the grapevine about their final details on their suspensions.

What's your point  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 3:15 PM

So what? Of course you have the lowest percentage of low income kids; it's easier to learn and score well on a test when you are well fed and have your basic needs met. Mann also has the highest achievement gap of any D97 school-African American kids test far lower at Mann than at any other school. Besides, test scores aren't everything. Mann defenitely scores highest in number of anonymosu emo selfimportant comments by parents afriad to work out their problems face to face.

Test Scores  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 2:10 PM

Mann School has the highest test scores of any of the D 97 schools (K-5).

Average Mann Parent  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 12:39 PM

"Mann isn't the only school in D97, Wednesday Journal." That's crazy talk!

Non Mann Parent  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 12:14 PM

So, no word on the fate of the two teachers? Mann isn't the only school in D97, Wednesday Journal.

Former Mann Parent  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 11:34 AM

"...we believed the man when he told us he had nothing to hide here." No one is doubting your belief or faith in Mr. LeDeaux, or your good intentions. However, his private assurances appear to be at odds with his public silence. He didn't resign and sign a joint statement because he had a stronger case than Dr. Roberts and the board.


Posted: April 1st, 2014 8:37 AM

At what point though does butting heads with your supervisor go too far? Do you think it's appropriate to go on twitter and publically berate your boss? Would that go over well in your job? It is unprofessional at best and a huge indication of how he operates.

R Lerner  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 8:32 AM

@Y'all - However, that begs the question of why LeDeaux wasn't willing to share the contents of his evaluation with his supporters if he "had nothing to hide." He had no legal obligation to keep it private. Offering up that info could have put an end to some of the rumors and speculation, as well as answered some of the questions and confusion people have about the process and potential reasons for non-renewal.

Y'all are missing the point  

Posted: April 1st, 2014 12:13 AM

Look....we will NEVER know exactly what happened. The point is, many parents feel like we know Mr. LeDeaux pretty well at this point and yes, we have faith in him, which led to us supporting him. Of course we're never gonna be privy to the personnel file, but we believed the man when he told us he had nothing to hide here. Have you people never been on the wrong side of an evaluation or butted heads with a superior? Have you never heard of a "system" treating someone unfairly? C'mon now.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 31st, 2014 11:52 PM

"No, Former Man n Parent, it is a little thing called faith. We know Mr. l.eDeaux personally." Hows that for bias. You couldn't sit on a criminal or civil jury with that statement.

Former Mann Parent  

Posted: March 31st, 2014 5:36 PM

"No, Former Mann Parent, it's a little thing called faith." And so ends the rational part of the discussion. I hope your kids continue to have a good experience at Mann.


Posted: March 31st, 2014 4:18 PM

P.S. - there is entirely too much drama surrounding the operation of all of OP's schools. This is both the fault of the helicopter parents and the incompetent D97 and D200 school boards. The latter are like the kids who get elected to student council in middle school - far too impresed with themselves, and far too eager to pursue their own agenda.


Posted: March 31st, 2014 4:05 PM

Sounds like Roberts is the one who needs to go. This is a school with high parental involvement, which means there are challenges, but not the same kind of challenges stemming from low parental involvement. If D97 can't recruit and retain top talent in this location, it is by definition failing at its mission.

@Former Mann Parent  

Posted: March 31st, 2014 3:26 PM

No, Former Mann Parent, it's a little thing called faith. We know Mr. LeDeaux personally, have personally experienced his effectiveness and we had faith in him- that's not the same as being ill-informed. I can't say I feel the same about Dr. Roberts based on the results (or lack thereof) that I've seen from him.

Former Mann Parent  

Posted: March 31st, 2014 3:18 PM

"We supported a good educator who was evaluated unfairly, in our opinion." No insult intended, but here's the whole problem. You have an opinion about Mr. LeDeaux's evaluation without knowing what was actually on his evaluation. You resent being called ill-informed, and yet you have a strong opinion about something you have not read. That's pretty much what ill-informed means.

@Former Mann Parent  

Posted: March 31st, 2014 3:00 PM

That's really insulting. We weren't used or ill-informed. We supported a good educator who was evaluated unfairly, in our opinion. I have no doubt the District dotted all their legal i's in this process, so Mr. LeDeaux had few options, but that doesn't mean that what happened here was right. Parent and teacher feedback count for next to nothing in D97, and that's a problem.

Former Mann Parent  

Posted: March 31st, 2014 2:41 PM

@Current...I don't doubt a word you say. Still, Roberts elected not to renew LeDeaux's contract, and LeDeaux chose to sign the joint statement. I'm confident that Mr. LeDeaux did what was in his best interest, almost certainly with legal advice. That suggests that he and Roberts know something you and I don't. If LeDeaux asked for the ribbons, you were used. If he didn't, you were ill-informed and backed the wrong horse. Either way, the system ultimately worked as designed, which is good.


Posted: March 31st, 2014 2:24 PM

@Current Mann Mom - Some people felt the same about Kumar. A principal may connect with certain factions of the school population, but their actions must be without reproach. I don't know what went on with this principal, but he was clearly not willing to air his dirty laundry and took the out. I don't blame him but think the community should be given the information regarding the impropriety because D97 employees are hired on our taxpayer dime.

Current Mann Mom from OP  

Posted: March 31st, 2014 2:08 PM

We tied ribbons & hung signs & spoke in front of the Board & did all these things because we've met Sam, we've worked with him, we've seen how he interacts with our children, we've seen how he's inspired the teachers, we've seen his passion for improving Mann, we've seen how he pulled the community together. We've experienced all these things 1st-hand & that's why we believed in him & supported him in this. Blithely believe in "the system" is no way to go about life!

Special Meeting   

Posted: March 31st, 2014 1:58 PM

This article makes it sound like the meeting was specifically for this issue. If you read the agenda, you will also see that the fate of two other teachers who are up for Suspension with or without pay is also an action item. The circumstances and outcome surrounding those contracts will really shed some light on where Roberts' head it at.

Former Mann Parent  

Posted: March 31st, 2014 11:50 AM

The system worked like it was supposed to. The professionals who had access to all the information made the decision. Mr. LeDeaux, who also had access to all the information as well as the opportunity to obtain advice from outside professionals, signed on as well. Parents and faculty members, who somehow developed strong positions without any of the information, tied ribbons around trees and made Facebook pages to no avail. Mann will move forward with a new principal, and everyone will be fine.

Dennis Swanson from Oak Park  

Posted: March 31st, 2014 10:56 AM

Amen Matt G and Jim'e'...where were all these bright minds during the last election, where there was no opposition to the current board slate. Posting a few comments on a seldom read blog does not count as participation. I personally have no dog in this fight but it is how "smart" people are without having the guts to test their ideas in an election. Yes, OP, we are all looking at you (at least have the guts to use your own name, coward).

Matt G.  

Posted: March 31st, 2014 9:59 AM

@jim'e' - don't forget @unfortunate should also be included in the mix to run for the Bd.


Posted: March 31st, 2014 9:14 AM

to @Ruth, @Brendan; it sounds like you two should run for the D97 Board. Hey all, its nice and easy to be Monday mornng quarterback, and unless all that you can do is to be critical, then it time to shut up or stand up and the next election cyle grab a petition and run for the Board.

M Maur  

Posted: March 31st, 2014 7:19 AM

Take down your orange ribbons people, you've been thrown under the bus. I'd love to know the "secret" circumstances that made the resignation the forced choice. Principal LeDeaux certainly had the backing of the Mann parents and guardians.


Posted: March 31st, 2014 6:42 AM

Mann parents will continue to run Mann school and do whatever is necessary to ensure that their children succeed. The figurehead matters very little whether it is LeDeaux or Roberts. Truth.


Posted: March 31st, 2014 6:37 AM

To everyone concerned about the elementary school, understand that the time goes by fast and your kids will be in middle school. Oak Park middle schools do not prepare kids for high school. They lack leadership and only have a few good teachers. Ask any high schooler, high school teacher, or guidance counselor. They will confirm this fact.

Former Mann Parent  

Posted: March 30th, 2014 3:59 PM

Poet - Yeah! Roberts kept promoting LeDeaux until he made him a building principal so that he could then fire him, because he's a racist. It took him years to pull it off, but you saw right through it. You're pretty smart, huh?

Black Poet  

Posted: March 30th, 2014 3:55 PM



Posted: March 30th, 2014 3:22 PM

@Ruth, etc - want to know the MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT of the D97 crew.....besides raising our taxes via a "fear" campaign? Well, just wait a bit (and no, you don't have to wait for Fast Forward to hit its stride!), after this Mann issue the gurus of D97/Roberts can now devote 100% of their time to the largest D97 issue of all - the building of a brand new Taj Majal home for the administrative staff!!!! What might this have to do with educating our children? Good question - I have NO IDEA!!!

Ruth from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2014 8:52 AM

The students do not seem to be the priority in D97. I'm honestly not sure why this is, but I'm glad for the good experiences my kids have had, sad for the bad, and ever hopeful that change is possible. We need board members who are knowledgeable about education and strong enough to acknowledge and act when problems arise.

Ruth from Oak Park  

Posted: March 30th, 2014 8:50 AM

OP schools still have good teachers, involved parents, and great kids! It could be a great district. Problem is the leadership,over the almost 20 years I've been here, has been not-so-great, and often dismissive of the concerns of their teachers, parents, and kids. They seem to count on those in the community who forget that teachers, parents (some are also educators!) and kids are the "experts", and trust that administrators are acting in the best interest of the students.

Mann Teacher  

Posted: March 30th, 2014 7:46 AM

@concerned..if you moved here for the schools, then yes, IMHO, you made a mistake. Welcome to the chaos.

Former Mann Parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 11:22 PM

The issue of Mr. LeDeaux's contract was settled by people who knew the facts, unlike any of the "experts" here. The superintendent who hired LeDeaux saw the need to let him go. Mr. LeDeaux resigned first, perhaps as a professional courtesy. If he publicly badmouthed his boss and didn't follow the directives of the board, the non-renewal of his contract couldn't have been much of a surprise. All business as usual. The ribbons, etc., were idiocy that likely only hastened the decision.

Kelly S from OP  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 10:28 PM

Are we really paying 195k a year to Mr Roberts?! So far, what has he achieved that make him worth our taxes?!

Amanda Breyer  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 9:46 PM

@jlerner-sounds to me like she heard it from the man himself, why sound so confident @OP why are you such a bitter person? Do you have any friends?Like to hide your lack of class here don't you. Take care of your anger issues ASAP You're weak. Maybe you should take your own advice take a double dose of your Prozac. You're the only one who doesn't seem to understand how the real world works. Who's provincial? Enjoy the rest of your night & don't let this keep you up all night.

Op res 253  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 9:38 PM

Our school board and committees are very talented, dedicated volunteers. Roberts is singularly unimpressive at best, as were his predecessors. Why is it hard to attract a talented, innovative Superintendent? Read these boards. This whack job of a community, knowing NONE if the truth, carries on and on. All with superlative children, knowledge of what's best for all and standing ready to call for heads. We deserve shitty leaders and e-cig stores. Quality shouldn't come close to this inane cabal.

J Lerner  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 9:24 PM

So, you have "facts," but won't share them with us non-intellectuals. Guess it's our loss.


Posted: March 29th, 2014 9:14 PM

I don't get it (perhaps I need meds) - why the ocd over the actual performance review? Yes, I have facts and no, you don't. done wasting my time with the mental light weights on this board -

J Lerner  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 9:05 PM

That part of your no pot shot philosophy, OP? You seem to be short on facts, but big on cheap shots. Your "big girl pants" too tight?


Posted: March 29th, 2014 8:55 PM

@ lerner. Are you on meds?

J Lerner  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 8:52 PM

So, be direct about what is fact versus what you have been fed by LeDeaux and his supporters.


Posted: March 29th, 2014 8:46 PM

@ breyer. I am sorry if the discourse has offended you but honest diffucult discussion are tough. Put your big girl pants on and come join the disucssion! Not pot shots, just very direct.

J Lerner  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 8:42 PM

Just as your perception of this being a he said-he said is subjective...unless you have something that proves otherwise.The difference is that an inaccurate evaluation gives LeDeaux grounds for a legitimate court battle. Yet, he chose to settle. Why?

Amanda Breyer   

Posted: March 29th, 2014 8:42 PM

@OP like taking shots at people? go back & read your comments. You sound like a forty something year old stuck in "high school" how ironic. You're clearly far too superior for most parents no?I'll take simple over being TACKY any day. Who are you? Did you orchestrate the ribbons & the signs?Clearly a stupid idea. Who are you to assume the community cannot understand "complex" issues. I doubt you ever held a mgt. position or even a business degree. Grow up or get over yourself ;)


Posted: March 29th, 2014 8:19 PM

@ lerner - get off the evaluation question and stop being so simple/provincial. Again, performance reviews have subjective elements that are based in part upon perception... so it is really irrelavent... what matter is core issue.

J Lerner  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 8:14 PM

You seem to be in the know, OP. Did you see LeDeaux's evaluation? Do you have written proof of the slow down request, or did LeDeaux just tell you that?

J Lerner  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 8:03 PM

@OP - So, unless you know the "complex/subtle" issues associated with this situation, why would you comment on a public board? However, if you know them, please enlighten us.


Posted: March 29th, 2014 8:03 PM

The truth is Sam was asked to slow down/stop activities that were seen as causing issues/disparity in district playing field. He said no - and all the rest is perfunctory. This is why we keep beating the "process is more important than results" drum. Yes, if you disobey you can be fired but he was doing what he thought was best. Also, tired of he was arrogant arguement - this is NOT flipping high school.


Posted: March 29th, 2014 7:58 PM

Still waiting for list of accomplishments from Roberts and Board. Again, not process changes, procedures or bylaws. Real results and real innovations. Buying tech was actually just catching up to the rest of leading schools. Waiting...

Another Mann Parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 7:58 PM

Also--"OP" is absolutely correct in his/her assessment of what happened here. There is no "blue dress." It's a classic case of "my way or the highway" and it's a tremendously unfortunate way to manage. The fabulous hardworking teachers of Mann will bear the brunt of this and it's just a sad situation all around. The school district has failed our community in this case and parents at other schools are hopefully taking note.

Another Mann Parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 7:54 PM

Hey, Mann Parent. Glad you're so satisfied with status quo for YOUR children. Some of us aren't, and Sam LeDeaux was a breath of fresh air. This whole episode has revealed incredibly disappointing things about D97. If anything, I'm just glad I'm better informed now so I can fight for change in the future.

Mary Ann Kennedy (Mann Parent) from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 7:45 PM

I've been a Mann parent for 6 years. Personally, I saw many positive and really encouraging changes at Mann with Mr. LeDeaux at the helm. I even thought (and still believe) that it was unfortunate that my kids did not experience more of Mann with LeDeaux at the helm as my youngest child is going off to Julian next year. A really sad turn of events in my opinion and a big loss for Mann IMO. I wish Mr. LeDeaux the very best.


Posted: March 29th, 2014 7:43 PM

Clealy, people suggesting he go public or fight have never held any position of power/ senior management. These types of issues cannot be handled in public forums with people who cannot understand the subtle/complex issues. Why burden your mind with issues you cant understand?

j lerner  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 7:36 PM

@OP - So you saw LeDeaux's evaluation and know all the reasons for non-renewal, right? You must with your level of confidence and "expertise" on this issue. And why didn't Mr. LeDeaux speak out against this atrocity since he speaks the "truth" or why didn't his lawyer encourage him to fight after looking at the evidence related to the case?

mann mom  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 7:23 PM

1st Roberts pushed Sam to be hired for this job. NONE of the cmte to hire a new principal for Mann wanted Sam. NONE. A chance was taken and and unfortunately the boss made a mistake. Like that never happens in the real world. No kidding your boss doesn't like you, you made an egregious error and he is not going to like someone like you, and OMG, people actually lose their jobs when they do something really wrong. Roberts job sucks, and the BOE are not idiots, what is wrong with u people?


Posted: March 29th, 2014 7:21 PM

Yes, I am an employer, who has served as top 15 executive in 40,000 person company and yes, I do know the details. What I do also know is as a leader, if I am doing my job, my subordinates wont need to go off about how I am an idiot. Management 101 - leadership creates loyalty.

Current Mann Parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 7:19 PM

Under the previous superintendant, Holmes had 3 principles in 3 years. It happens! Dr. Roberts did not promote LeDeaux because he wanted to see him fail. Moving on now and choosing to believe that somehow our kids will all survive this tremendous crisis!

Current Mann Parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 7:14 PM

@OP you have no idea what the event was that led to the departure. If you are an employer, and I'm guessing you are, would insubordination be ok with you? Since mid Feb, LeDeaux posted several comments on Twitter that were, very clearly and publicly, criticizing Dr. Roberts and the administration. In what world is that not career suicide if not completely unprofessional?


Posted: March 29th, 2014 7:11 PM

Parent said "the board was prepared to vote" which is absurd. This was a forgone conclusion long ago. the Board was never going to override roberts and Sam knew the result. Again, game theory 101. If Board votes no (outcome is be fired or resign), if board votes yes (outcome is stay/hate it or resign) - either way resign is optimal choice...


Posted: March 29th, 2014 6:59 PM

Again, ask yourself this question. If you heard of a business, church, civic organization with the turnover op97 has over the last three years, would you think of it as healthy? No - you would think it is troubled or leadership is weak. Why to we hold ourselves to such low standards. Demand and expect more. ...


Posted: March 29th, 2014 6:56 PM

Please site ONE thing the Board or Roberts have accomplished - not tried. Please do not count procedure or process - real results. The reason is the Board is in love with Roberts is they are not capable enough to understand what he is capable of - that takes insight - not following rules - ie technocrats. We have a crisis in OP - not at Mann but in leadership of op97/ continued average results with regard to performance.


Posted: March 29th, 2014 6:52 PM

The event that led to the departure was Sam was asked to do several things that he felt were not good for Mann - he said no. So technically it is insubordination. Of course he was was not forced to resign - take bullet to head or door - which would you choose? Some one said, they are volunteers on board and they try. That is not good enough - just because you are there done not make you competent or much less excellent. Our Board are very well intentioned - but lets be honest, they are not

Current Mann Parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 6:30 PM

@SteveBankes have you done that? If so, please share the feedback you received. And keep in mind it is likely one person's opinion unless you did a well defined target survey. You will never find an administrator (or a principle) who is liked and supported by everyone. Never. I think it's unfortunate that so many Mann parents spoke up for LeDeaux...yet he never once spoke up for himself. Speaks volumes to me.

Steve Bankes from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 5:58 PM

Ask someone from the Clarkston, MI school district (Dr. Roberts former employer) what they think about his performance there. Then come back and tell me how this must be all about Ledeaux.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 4:53 PM

Touche, Current Mann parent, Touche. Well said. I can always understand a difference of opinion here. People can honestly disagree. I don't understand or accept the vitriol so often spewed against people who I spent years watching in meetings giving large chunks of their time and expertise to elected office for no remuneration and no reason other than that they cared about the schools or parks or village, etc.

Current Mann Parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 4:23 PM

The D97 Board did nothing wrong here. They listened to their community's concerns, both in support and not. They were prepared to vote on his contract based on all the information they have been provided...from BOTH sides. And in the end they weren't even called on to vote because LeDeaux chose to resign. So stop with the bashing or get your name on the next ballot if you think you can do a better job.

Current Mann Parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 4:17 PM

Why on earth do people feel compelled to rip on the school board members? These are your neighbors, fellow parents, and concerned community members who VOLUNTEER hours and hours of their time (in addition to their real jobs) for the sake of our schools and our children. Why do you think the elections are always uncontested? Because it's a thankless job!! Cont...


Posted: March 29th, 2014 3:42 PM

Being let go (not renewed) or resigning are NOT the same thing. Most people would choose the resignation due to how it looks moving forward. DUH


Posted: March 29th, 2014 3:40 PM

1st, Roberts wanted Sam. The cmte chosen to help hire a new principal didn't want Sam, NONE OF THEM. Roberts pushed for Sam into the position because HE BELIEVED IN HIM. Those of you who think Sam didn't get rehired is because Roberts didn't like him, you are probably right. I wouldn't like my employee either if he/she did things wrong that were so egregious I would have to fire him/her. This isn't about the Roberts or the BOE,it's as simple as someone who did something wrong and got fired.

A. Parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 2:39 PM

Dump Roberts and the school board. There is some metamorphosis our elected officials undergo when they take office. They drink the kool aid and lose the ability to see and think clearly. Recall FastForward and former Brooks principal. Discouraging.

J Lerner  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 2:23 PM

For all of the people complaining about the Brooks principal, have you actually raised your concerns with the superintendent and board...or, better yet, the principal himself? Or, are you just using this as an opportunity to pile on?

J Lerner  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 2:21 PM

@Brian S - I think you nailed it in an earlier post. My guess is that Mr. LeDeaux's attorney requested all of the documentation related to this issue, including his evaluation, determined he didn't have a strong case and recommended to his client that he settle, which is what it appears the board will be voting on Monday night. If this really was a personality conflict issue, I have to imagine his attorney would have encouraged him to fight.

J Lerner  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 2:13 PM

@Sartson - Wanna talk about politics? In the comment sections under several of the other articles on this site, supporters of Mr. LeDeaux said he was the one who released the information about his non-renewal to save his job. He then remained silent while parents took on the call to action and fought on his behalf. Sounds like the definition of politics to me.

J Lerner  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 2:08 PM

@JB - One small problem with your plan to vote out the current board...there hasn't been a contested election in District 97 in years. Does this mean we can expect to see your name on the ballot next year?

Former Mann Parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 1:22 PM

"He WAS forced out and we all know it!" Who is "we"? The sequence of events tells me something very different. Mr. LeDeaux bluffed until right before Monday's meeting, hoping he would be retained due to faculty and parent support. He resigned late Friday before his employment situation was to be discussed publicly. The board was prepared to meet Monday. Roberts was prepared to meet Monday. LeDeaux's supporters were prepared to meet Monday. LeDeaux, alone, was not. Why not?


Posted: March 29th, 2014 1:02 PM

It's really disconcerting that this superintendent hides behind fake "policies" with no real intention to have real conversations with others. It is very obvious that this was a forced resignation; anyone who wants to think differently is just naive. It's disturbing to think my children will grow up with this school board. HOWEVER, I did notice that 4 of the 7 board members have terms expiring in 2015 (with the other 3 ending in 2017). Perhaps we can elect a board that won't act as puppets.

Sartson from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 12:46 PM

@former Mann parent: it's not about Mann parents being right or wrong. There was clearly a very strong support for LeDeaux as well as some who didnt support him. Like most schools. The issue is that the district and Roberts can do whatever they want to a well liked (overall, with some exception) and innovative principal. There is no hidden scandal here (from LeDeaux), just politics and bullying. He resigned for his own future employment potential. He WAS forced out and we all know it!

Former Mann Parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 12:26 PM

Everyone who wants to paint this as Roberts v. LeDeaux should remember that it was Dr. Roberts who continually promoted Mr. Ledeaux, leading to his current position. No supporter at Mann has supported Mr. LeDeaux as consistently and meaningfully as Dr. Roberts has. Roberts has withdrawn this support for a reason, and not a single person here knows why. Roberts and LeDeaux both know why. LeDeaux resigned. Mann parents sometimes have trouble imagining that they may have been wrong.

Parent at Holmes  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 12:20 PM

Hope Al Roberts is planning on doing something about the lack of air conditioning in the elementary schools that creates unbearable conditions for the students and teachers in the heat waves we are seeing more and more of. What is the latest plan for the upcoming August?


Posted: March 29th, 2014 12:04 PM

As a new resident with a child going into Whittier in the next year, and Whittier choosing a new principle due to the current one retiring, all this talk about Roberts is very disturbing. Is Whittier too going to be subjected to whim of Roberts to appoint someone that is his puppet at the expense of my child's education? Part of the reason I to Oak Park (with it's high taxes) was the schools, but after hearing about Brooks, and this dysfunctional school board, maybe I made the wrong decision.

a parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 11:56 AM

As a parent outside of this school, I cannot really decipher the language people are using beyond Roberts being a control freak that wants red tape, Sam either not bending to certain parents wants, or Sam being more interested in the education than playing politics. It would be helpful if people could give a bit more specific information, because what comes across is that certain Mann parents are entitled and Roberts is more concerned with himself.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 11:49 AM

In the weeks leading up to this Sam Ledaux had no access to the ACLU.NLRB,his private attorney,specialist attorney,his labor representative and caved to a faulty position and signed a joint ststement. Or he spoke w/all of them and they said your case is weak, make a deal. The pending civil suit, if any will be telling.

Jennifer Kennedy  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 11:29 AM

Steve, I agree re: D97 board/Dr. Roberts; MaryP/Sartson, I second your opinion; OPParent, you're on to s/t. Two years ago, Roberts also removed (was allowed to remove?) Tom Sindelar from Brooks w/o cause. I don't know anyone who knows why. At the graduation ceremony that year Sindelar received as many as 3 standing ovations in his support, with the corresponding effect of anti-support for Roberts and the Board. The arbitrary decisions of both are destabilizing and feel petty, not professional.

Steve Bankes from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 11:26 AM

@Former Mann Parent, I wish what you say is true and that Sam had meaningful control over the outcome. But as I see it, Sam had no leverage. The board is judge and jury and doesn't have to explain themselves to anyone. Sam had 2 options. Option 1 involves fighting back and a hearing that he knows can never happen legally, an angry school board and an uncertain employment future, or Option 2 is a resignation and in exchange for a recommendation that will allow him to work in a district where he can thrive. Guess which option I would choose if I were him? But please don't fall for the doubt trap. This is about personalities, not performance (in my opinion).

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 10:57 AM

Thank you, Former Mann Parent. A" joint" statement was issued.Both sides. Sam had the counsel of his work group and legal counsel. Roberts had his legal staff.. What we should watch now is what and where will he be employed in the future.. What we don't know fills volumes.

Former Mann Parent  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 10:44 AM

To Steve - "Forcing" Mr. LeDeaux to resign? The board took his resignation late Friday before a public meeting on Monday. That's called allowing him to resign. Mr. LeDeaux knows things his supporters don't. His supporters wanted a public meeting; Mr. LeDeaux did not. Nobody but Mr. LeDeaux and the board know what the cards were, but it's obvious the board held a better hand.

long time resident  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 10:24 AM

Mann parents shouldn't worry too much - if D97 holds true to form their principal will be back as a consultant somewhere in the district. Although there have been some outside hires (with good an bad outcomes) D97 has a tendency to hire from within. This maybe be why the window dressing (playgrounds) changes, but the substance - and the problems - stay so much the same.

Lori M.  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 9:57 AM

Do tell, What's wrong with our middle school principals?

Op parent   

Posted: March 29th, 2014 9:48 AM

I think that all parents in this community should care because this isn't a Mann thing, it's a control thing by a district leader who is a bully to his principals and teachers. He puts his need to control before the kids and families. This could happen to any school and now the other school principals will know they need to conform instead of innovate. So disgusting. My kids don't go to Mann but I feel bad for these families and kids.

Sartson from Oak park   

Posted: March 29th, 2014 9:42 AM

Roberts is just looking for a YES man. I'd really like to see HIS resignation!


Posted: March 29th, 2014 9:10 AM

Maybe Roberts will hire someone like the Brooks principal. Then our kids from Mann can be as unprepared for middle school as our middle schoolers are for high school.

Mann Teacher  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 8:47 AM

@Steve Bankes...Perfectly said. Thank you.

Becca Suhl  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 8:35 AM

Thank you Sam, Dr. Roberts, Board & PTO Board. Moving on

Steve Bankes from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 7:45 AM

Dear Sam, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for how this turned out and two years after hiring you, we are now forcing you to resign. I'm sorry that we elected a school board that would hire a superintendent like Al Robert but would not stand up to him. I'm sorry the school board wouldn't stand up for you the way you would have fought for their children. I'm sorry Al Roberts seems to love process more than progress and presents as an unrepentant bully acting with impunity. I regret that my taxes fund his salary and pension. You are a teacher and we are all students. I've learned a lot about you over the past 2 years and I've learned about the parents that stood up and fought for you, I've learned about how a school board works ?" or doesn't. Good luck to you and I hope you land in a school district that puts their children ahead of bureaucrats.


Posted: March 29th, 2014 5:40 AM

The more germane issue is the the role of OP97 Board and Roberts is driving high quality education consistent with taxes and traditional OP standards. Again, what must not be lost is OP is not at the historic caliber of the past. Part is we dont allow principals any room to innovate/etc. and are more concerned with process, politics and procedure. We need to demand improvements (middle school asap) etc.


Posted: March 29th, 2014 5:31 AM

Most of the issues parents raise are style issues. Kumar and Sam have one trait in common - do what is best for the students - and not involve themselves in the politics of the Board/Roberts. They are both doers, not ass kissers, not people who have time nor patience to deal with some sycophant parents trying to position their child for gifted etc. Like it on not, part of this is Mann parents constant whining - (sometimes directly to board).

Lori M.   

Posted: March 29th, 2014 12:28 AM

@bridgett- I'm not confused, but okay

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: March 29th, 2014 12:20 AM

For those using the @ symbol, and then another person's name: Will you please use your own name (or handle) so that other readers/contributors can know who is speaking? I don't know if @OP and @bruce are the same person. And if it's the same person on another story going by @Bridgett and @Mimi. It's also confusing to use another person's name/handle, in your own. Ok, back to our regularly scheduled program. Thanks.


Posted: March 29th, 2014 12:11 AM

I respect your thoughts, but I respectfully disagree with you in regards to the qualities you mentioned about LeDeaux. I don't believe he is the right principal for our school. I'm sure he can be, one day if he opens his heart & mind to everyone & not just those who think the way he does. I am not perfect either. No one is perfect. No one is anyone to judge what anyone believes is best for their families.


Posted: March 28th, 2014 11:43 PM

Looks like Mr LeDeaux bluffed behind his parent support for as long as he could, but he wasn't too interested in Monday's meeting taking place. Asking for support, standing by while parents tied ribbons around trees, and then rolling over at the last minute? Mr. LeDeaux made fools of his PTO supporters. Disappointing.

Bruce from Oak Park   

Posted: March 28th, 2014 11:27 PM

I can't believe I'm doing this again, but as another Principal is let go by Al Roberts (and what appears as a Star Chamber of a School Board) all is not right in District 97. Before people start hurling awful comments towards me, just think how you would feel if you lost a dynamic, bold, and progressive leader for your children. Maybe just maybe he wasn't perfect. But then again neither am I.

Other Mann parent   

Posted: March 28th, 2014 10:40 PM

@OP for the record, I thought Mrs Kumar was perfect. Sorry I don't share your same sentiments. Mr. LeDeaux, not so much. I think many of us are entitled to our opinions even if it isn't favorable with Mann PTO Board. Teachers will continue to be passionate about their work, parents will continue to support their children & teachers. We need to welcome & believe in our next principal.

Terry at Mann  

Posted: March 28th, 2014 10:26 PM

Thank you Mann PTo. Can we take down the ribbons & posters now? You should pat yourselves on the back. No wait, why don't you kick yourselves instead. All joking aside, I really mean it, thank you. It couldn't have happened faster if it wasn't for your help! I'm happy that our district & board made the best decision for everyone


Posted: March 28th, 2014 10:15 PM

Does that mean that the "2 live crew song" will not be played for kids birthdays anymore I'm. 2014-15? Yes! Thank you!


Posted: March 28th, 2014 10:11 PM

You get nasty w/me? Ok. How do you know about my babbling BS?I'm pretty sure it's b/c Sam shares parents & students personal issues w/ u or teachers. "His side" of the story prevails w/u. I'm sure he feels the same way you do about dr. Roberts & the Board. Instead of using u as a shoulder to cry on (b/c it's very obvious) & complain, he should've 1st believed in the Mustang Motto b/f becoming our principal. If he was respectful, responsible or showed some compassion who know. Sorryfor yourloss

Mary P from Oak Park  

Posted: March 28th, 2014 10:09 PM

We also accept Superintendent Roberts' resignation. Thanks!

mann mom from op  

Posted: March 28th, 2014 9:44 PM

I remain as confused about this today as I did weeks ago when I first heard it was even a possibility. Cannot figure how any principal could possibly be better than Mr. Sam LeDeaux. Sam--you will be missed.


Posted: March 28th, 2014 9:40 PM

@ best - I hope it humbles Sam? Really, who are you to judge him or his attitude? LEt me guess- If some is direct and does not listen to your babbling BS they are arrogant? This is the flippin problem with us Mann parents. Kumar was too passive and Sam too arrogant. Give me a break -

The best is yet to come  

Posted: March 28th, 2014 9:24 PM

FC from Julian may be a great choice. I hope the next principal will not only have the students best interest at heart, but will also listen to hard working parents that share the same goal & send their children to Mann. I hope this not only humbles Sam, but many of us parents at Mann.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: March 28th, 2014 8:43 PM

Wow, OP Res 253, you have a singular and juvenile talent for cheapening a conversation.


Posted: March 28th, 2014 8:42 PM

The new principal will Faith cole from Julian. I hope the district and Board give her enough freedom to be successful. She is bright and Mann alum. Perhpas this is the wake up call to show that OP97 is not serving its consumers interest.

Carrie Marling Bankes from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 28th, 2014 8:28 PM

Encouraging children to be open, enthusiastic learners is a gift. I thank Mr. LeDeaux and his staff for showing this Mann parent that a healthy school is so much more than its test scores. I hope Dr. Roberts is as open to learning new things.

Mann Teacher  

Posted: March 28th, 2014 8:16 PM

This is beyond sad. What a loss.

Benjamin Hill from Oak park   

Posted: March 28th, 2014 7:44 PM

Bring him back to Longfellow, we loved him.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2017

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2017 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad