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By Terry Dean
Oak Park elementary school District 97 has announced that administrator Faith Cole will become the new principal of Mann Elementary School, while Whittier Elementary will receive CPS administrator Keshia Warner as its new leader.
Supt. Al Roberts finalized the two assignments Friday. The announcement as well as a joint statement from the two apointees were also released Friday. The D97 school board will take action on the appointments May 27.
"We are incredibly honored that Dr. Roberts is recommending us for appointment, and look forward to being at the meeting on Tuesday night for the completion of this exciting process," Cole and Warner said.
Both were announced two weeks ago as Roberts' principal choices, but the superintendent had not yet decided which school each would join. Cole, a 10-year D97 teacher and administrator, is currently an assistant principal at Julian Middle School, 416 S. Ridgeland Ave. Warner is currently the principal at Drake Elementary School in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood.
Cole, a native of Oak Park, will become principal of the elementary school she attended, which could be a first for the Oak Park school district. D97 spokesperson Chris Jasculca said he could not say with certainty if Cole is the first ever principal in district history to serve the school she attended as a student.
Cole told Wednesday Journal last week that she didn't have a preference of either school and that both were great assignments. The Journal was unable to reach Warner at her school for comment. Their appointments were announced May 13. Roberts at the time praised both candidates for their experience and commitment to students.
In Friday's statement, Roberts said he was pleased to recommend both to their respective assignments.
"While a number of highly-qualified professionals applied for these openings, they stood out above the rest," he said.
Cole has been assistant principal at Julian since 2012, and previously served two years as a teacher leader/mentor in the district, in addition to teaching kindergarten. After earning a bachelor's degree in elementary and special education from Lewis University, Cole earned a master's in leadership from Northeastern University. She's currently working on her doctorate in teacher leadership.
Cole attended Mann, Julian and Oak Park and Rive Forest High School, where she later coached girls varsity basketball.
A graduate of Chicago's Whitney Young High School, Warner has been principal at Drake for three years and previously served as an assistant principal there. She earned a bachelor's degree in English Arts from Hampton University in Virginia, as well as a master's in curriculum and instruction from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She received her master's degree in administration and supervision from National Louis University in Chicago.
Drake serves about 500 kids in grades K-8.