District 97 promotes from within to fill third Oak Park principal vacancy

Julian asst. principal takes over at Mann elementary school


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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Mann School has its next principal, and the school district didn't have to look too far to find him.

Sam LeDeaux, 35, an assistant principal at Percy Julian Middle School, will replace Nimisha Kumar at Mann, 921 N. Kenilworth Ave. The District 97 Board of Education unanimously approved LeDeaux's appointment on May 22. A former Chicago Public School teacher, LeDeaux was an assistant principal at Longfellow before joining Julian. He'll earn a salary of $100,000 on a one-year contract at Mann.

At last week's board meeting, LeDeaux (pronounced LUH-DOH) was joined by his wife and 3-year-old son.

LeDeaux's official start date is July 1. He holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Knox College, and a master's degree in educational leadership from Concordia University. Supt. Albert Roberts praised LeDeaux's work ethic and relationship with families.

"The words that were used to describe him by teachers and actually some students were consistent," Roberts said, "that he was always in the classroom, the kids knew him, the teachers knew him. He always followed through and did what he said he was going to do."

Speaking with Wednesday Journal last week, LeDeaux said he knew since high school that he wanted to become a teacher. The Evanston native worked at CPS for three years before joining D97. He said Oak Park had all the things he was looking for, including diversity and community sensitivity.

LeDeaux was among nearly 100 candidates to apply for the Mann principal post.

"My hard work and pride for Oak Park and District 97 is certainly more tangible as an internal candidate," he said.

LeDeaux is the only member of his family who's a teacher. It wasn't until later in his teaching career that he considered moving into administration, something he earlier never thought he'd do.

"I loved teaching and vowed up and down that there would never be a circumstance that I would leave that," he recalled. "I think developing those relationships with families led to an appreciation and understanding that ultimately led me to want to continue that at the next level."

Reader Comments

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Anne from Oak Park  

Posted: May 24th, 2012 12:45 PM

This is a wonderful appointment. Mr. LeDeaux was well-loved by kids and parents at Longfellow School. The only sad part for us Longfellow families is that we looked forward to working with Mr. LeDeaux again at Julian! Mann School is very fortunate.

Dan Hefner from Oak Park  

Posted: May 24th, 2012 12:03 PM

I agree with Dooper 58. Frankly, diversity by definition is racism. Dictating there must be one black person, one white person, one brown person, one yellow person, in any group is wrong. We are all equal! Personally, I am colorblind. I recognize all people as members of one race, the Human Race!

Tie or no tie  

Posted: May 24th, 2012 10:33 AM

I'm thinking pink is his favorite color. Above there are two pictures on different days, yet the same color shirt. I like that hes man enough to wear pink.

Dooper 58 from Oak Park  

Posted: May 24th, 2012 10:09 AM

dooper, I (the REAL Dooper) second LB's notion. Yes, that's just what we need. More bussing of kids, more parents driving all over town, all the while praying to the god of almighty diversity. There is great benefit to neighborhood schools. One is that they build a community. I, for one, think we should scrap the middle school model & go back to PK-8 neighborhood schools. To draw the apartheid analaogy is, indeed, idiotic & cheapens the suffering of those who actually lived under it.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 23rd, 2012 11:36 PM

Sam, congratulations on your appointment. It's great to have you on-board.


Posted: May 23rd, 2012 11:10 PM

Dooper you are an idiot. You think that all of a sudden a black administrator is going to have an agenda of enrolling more minority students? Why should he? The priority of any administrator at any school should be to help the current and entering student body. If anybody, anywhere, in any town can have access to whatever they want, then I'm going to go buy a cheap house in Austin or Englewood! Why not? More white guilt do-gooder talk. I'm black, and it's what I hate about this town!

Donovan Pepper from Oak Park  

Posted: May 23rd, 2012 11:02 PM

Congrats to Mr. LeDeaux and all the kids at that school! We really enjoyed him when he was at Longfellow and was sad to see him leave! Congrats D97 for the selection!

brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: May 23rd, 2012 9:56 PM

Why would minorities want to enroll in a bad school like Mann?

dooper from Oak Park  

Posted: May 23rd, 2012 7:57 PM

Mann suffers from a lack of ethnic diversity. I am hopeful that LeDeaux will find a way to get more minorities enrolled at Mann. Any Oak Park resident should have the opportunity to attend whatever District 97 school will best educate their children. The outdated geographical boundary system should go the way of apartheid.

Mann Parent  

Posted: May 23rd, 2012 4:00 PM

@ tie - I FIND YOU ODD.

Tie or no tie  

Posted: May 23rd, 2012 3:22 PM

I find it odd that he's wearing a tie in the photo but his shirt isnt buttoned all the way up? Is that a new semi casual look? It reminds me of someone after work or someone at a the end of a wedding reception.

Jeanine Pedersen from Oak Park  

Posted: May 23rd, 2012 6:38 AM

Lucky Mann! Mr. LaDeaux was a wonderful presence at Longfellow and I was looking forward to my kids having him at Julian. All the best wishes to him.

Mann Parent  

Posted: May 23rd, 2012 5:11 AM

Excellent choice. I have the opportunity to meet Sam and discuss his vision and believe he will continue Kumar's track record of success and improve upon it. Nice to see he is also progressive with regard to technology usage and blended model. All the best Sam!

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