Whittier School in search of new principal

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Whittier School, one of the eight elementary schools in Oak Park District 97, is looking for a new principal as current administrator Carol Young is set to retire in June. Young is retiring after more than 25 years in D97, including stints as principal of two district schools — Mann and Whittier. 

Chris Jasculca, D97's director of policy, planning and communication, said Whittier's principal job has been posted, with the goal of bringing forth a candidate by April or early May. Young has more than 30 years in education.  

At just over 400 kids, Whittier is among D97's smallest schools but also among its most touted. As an instructor and teacher leader, Young helped expand the school's multi-age classrooms. 

She taught at Whittier for 12 years, then became the interim and later full-time principal at Mann in 2002. In '06, she applied for and was hired as Whittier's full-time principal. Young began there as a special education teacher in 1986 and stayed until 1999. Prior to D97, she spent six years in Maywood School District 89. 

D97, teaching assistants reach contract agreement

The Oak Park Teaching Assistants Association (OPTAA) has reached a new three-year contract with D97. Approved on Feb. 25, by the school board, the deal runs through the 2015-2016 school year and includes the elimination of steps and lanes, two salary compensation mechanisms that have long been included in teacher contracts. 

Such a switch could foreshadow changes in the next faculty contract currently in negotiation between the board and Oak Park Teachers Association (OPTA).  

The OPTAA deal includes wage increases of 2.1 percent for the 2014 and 2015 school years, and the implementation of an annual evaluation process for all TAs. The deal calls for the creation of "two primary career pay levels with advancement between them," based on receiving "excellent performance ratings" while working in D97, as well as completing a designated number of professional development hours.

In a joint statement released last week by the board and union, both sides acknowledged the effort involved in reaching the agreement. 

"We are grateful for the hard work put forth by everyone involved in this important endeavor and appreciate the mutual respect that was exhibited by both side throughout the negotiating process," the statement read. 

OPRF District 200 is also currently in negotiations with their faculty union on a new contract. 

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com

Reader Comments

29 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Real List  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 7:20 PM

I meant no disrespect to Carol's accomplishments and I wish her well in her retirement. I do question the wisdom of providing a pension to someone currently making $140K/yr, because her principal salary will determine her payout, not her teacher salary. Given current life expectancies, the taxpayer is on the hook for 30+ years of more principal salary, basically paying for two principals for one school. She could easily pocket more in retirement than working. Once again...bravo!

Dreamer from Oak Park  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 5:28 PM

Respect;reread the article.Principal since 2002(Mann,then Whittier),teacher for 12 years in Oak Park,six years before that.Thirty years total-I'd guess she's 53,54 tops.

Kelly from Oak Park  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 4:30 PM

@respect--I am not sure how you came up with your numbers. The article says she worked six years prior to joining D97 in 1986, so she started working as a teacher in 1980. She's been working 34 (not 43) years in education.

Happy tax payer from Oak Park  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 4:06 PM

If she is 65, then she has earned her nice pension. No complaints here. I question the various government workers who have retired and begun receiving pensions while still in their 50's. That is what is one of the factors causing the pension actuarial crisis for the state (which they still haven't fixed, BTW).

Respect  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 3:42 PM

@ Real List--She worked for 25 years as a principal, 12 years as a teacher in the district, and 6 years as a teacher in Maywood. That's 43 years in the education field. If she started working at 22, that makes her 65?seems like the age that most people retire these days. I think she's paid her dues and deserves a little more credit than that.

Terry Dean Wednesday Journal Employee

Posted: March 4th, 2014 3:39 PM

I too was off work recently for a week-and-a-half on medical leave, and, to my consternation, had a desk to return to when I got well...just j/k on last part.

Terry Dean Wednesday Journal Employee

Posted: March 4th, 2014 3:34 PM

Mr. LeDeaux, I've been told by the district, was out sick last week and is back in the building this week.

Real List  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 3:26 PM

Kudos to Carol, retiring at the earliest possible age - 10 years earlier than most taxpayers - and collecting a generous six-figure pension that she will burn through in about 12 years (that's her contributions + state match investment gains), upon which the taxpayer foots the bill for the rest of her life. She is the truly smart one here. Carol, I raise a glass to you. Bravo!

OP  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 3:18 PM

Dr Roberts has very tight command and control approach - it is his way or you are gone and the board is technocrats - great at procedure / process but on innovation - not so much. Innovation is disruptive in nature and often means you cant always follow the rules. Also, there is a small group of parents with board access that have consistently undermined principals at Mann. No question you need at least 2 years before any decisions can be made and by all measures, a great job is being done...

Another parent  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 2:52 PM

Why would the district push out a good principal? There has been a lot of turnover in recent years at some schools, including the middle schools. It takes time for a principal to get up to speed, which slows progress. It is in the district's best interest to minimize the high turnover.

upset Mann parent  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 2:44 PM

we all know darn well he hasn't caught the flu or taken a cruise. the district is - for reasons that no one can figure out - trying to push out a well-loved and innovative educator who is doing great things in his school. frustrating beyond belief.

Razor dude  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 12:17 PM

Unfortunately, Yes, a week is not a lot a long time, and parents need to have a little more trust in that if a principle goes AWOL, the school will notify parents. There are many other people in the school to take care of all the little "gems". Next thing you know parents will be demanding documentation for event bathroom break the principle and teachers takes. Increased bureaucracy is often the result of the whining of the public.

Mann Parent  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 11:56 AM

Mr. LeDeaux has been active on the Mann School twitter feed, so I highly doubt he's no longer employed with the school. I hope he doesn't see these comments or he'll likely be applying for the Whittier position.

Another parent from Oak Park  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 11:48 AM

I think you have to be patient a bit longer on the Mann principal absence. It could be a private health or family matter. Beyond two weeks I think an explanation is owed. Not necessarily every detail, but a general explanation. The kiddies will continue to survive and thrive in the meantime.

Unfortunately  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 10:36 AM

@Razor. Are you saying that Mann parents shouldn't care about their school's principal being absent? Admittedly, slightly more than one week is no big deal but, logically, at what point does it become an issue for this important position? Or, if the position isn't important, why don't we eliminate it and then save a lot of money?

Razon dude  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 10:16 AM

Transplant, the pampered comment was obviously referring to the fact that some parents need every second of their "babysitters" lives accounted for. But, yes, not being a teacher means I don't have to deal with personalities such as yourself. A big plus!

Concerned  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 10:06 AM

Of course it's our business. This concerns the leadership of the school where our children will spend seven hours daily for six years. It is absolutely within our rights to understand if a change in leadership is taking place and, more important, WHY?

Common Sence  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 9:50 AM

Transplant- Who said that he "vanished" or that district officials were instructed not to speak of him? As long as your child is being educated and is in a safe environment, IF there are issues (something that has not been established), those issues are a PRIVATE personnel matter that involves the principal and the district only. Until you can demonstrate that the quality of your child's education is impacted, it's none of your business.

OP Transplant  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 9:22 AM

Razor - What are you talking about? Both the article and the comments are about personnel issues at the administrative level, not whether children are pampered. I do agree with you in being glad you're not a teacher, though.

razor dude  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 9:14 AM

Gotta love parents. I'm glad I'm not a teacher... regardless of efforts, there are always some parents that will always find something to whine about. God forbid if their precious little children are not pampered over every second of the school day.

OP Transplant  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 8:57 AM

Common Sense - Disagree completely. If the principal at my child's school suddenly vanishes and district employees are instructed not to comment on his absence, it's a legitimate question.

Common Sense  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 7:03 AM

You are not entitled to an email notification every time a principal gets up from his desk. He could be at a conference, he could be sick, or he could be doing something that is simply none of your damn business. Regardless of what it is, the school board does not owe you an explanation so that your curiosity is satisfied.

Dreamer from Oak Park  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 12:58 AM

A principal retiring in June is a BIGGER story than an A.W.O.L principal in the middle of the school year?Are you part of the cover-up?

Dreamer from Oak Park  

Posted: March 4th, 2014 12:49 AM

Personnel matter.Cannot be commented on or discussed by school board or administrators.Don't the parents or teachers deserve an explanation?When was the last time a principal left mid-year?We can't even find out if he resigned or was fired.Why all the secrecy?

A. Parent  

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 11:43 PM

What happened to the new guy? Could he be on sick leave, FML, or at a educational conference?

Concerned  

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 9:16 PM

Yes--what is going on at Mann?

op  

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 8:02 PM

wtf? what do you mean?

Dreamer from Oak Park  

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 7:46 PM

Meanwhile,Mann school has been without a principal for over a week, with no explanation to parents.

parent  

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 7:13 PM

Hopefully D97 will give serious consideration to qualified candidates from outside the district and hire someone whose perspective on educating students with disabilities is not frozen in time from decades-old experience.

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