Dist. 97 makes right way for new superintendent

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The goal of the District 97 board of education and of its departing superintendent Dr. John Fagan, was to make clear the path for incoming Supt. Constance Collins. To a notable degree they have succeeded and they deserve our thanks.

Making critical hires during such a period is especially difficult, and that is in part why we would like to applaud the district on the recent instating of new principals at both Brooks Middle School and Whittier School.

It was critical that the school administration give Dr. Collins the opportunity to hit the ground running with a clean slate. While controversy has surrounded Brooks in recent years, we are impressed by the hard work of the School Leadership Team members, who have carefully outlined both problems and solutions. We're also confident that the thorough selection process used by the district, which involved gathering input from parents and faculty, will give Tom Sindelar good standing in the community when he starts the new school year as Brooks' principal.

The strong interest shown by Mann principal Carol Young in returning to Whittier as principal, and the enthusiasm of that school's search committee for her, also speaks well for the future of Whittier. It was another strong and inclusive process.

The unfortunate result is that Mann is unexpectedly left without a principal, and from the point of view of some parents there, without a chance to wish Young well. However, personnel changes are not always seamless and Collins will be left with the need to fill a principalship at Oak Park's most affluent and highest testing school. If a vacancy had to be left that was the right one. Perhaps an interim appointment at Mann would be the right move to make under the circumstances.

Again, thanks and congratulation to Fagan and the board for forthrightly addressing these challenges and setting the stage for a positive arrival for Supt. Collins.

Memorial's time has come

For years, we suspect the Cook County Forest Preserve District wouldn't even return River Forest's phone calls. Now, though, there is a prime confluence of events, and changes in Forest Preserve leadership, to finally realize the potential of the Cummings Memorial and the awkward park which surrounds it.

The memorial and the park it occupies have sat underutilized, and in an unattractive state for years, even though it is at a prime location?#34;the northwest corner of Lake Street and Harlem Avenue.

The restoration of the memorial, and accompanying landscaping work, is likely to come in anywhere between $540,000 and $750,000. That's a lot of money, but we are finally seeing the necessary parties coming together to make a change at this parcel. Thanks, in part, to the River Forest 125th committee for pushing this issue.

The River Forest park district, however, needs to get off the sidelines and help seize the opportunity. While we understand the district may have felt left out early on in the process, improving this area is a benefit that is worth the district's focused attention.

River Forest is landlocked and needs to make the most of its open space. We look forward to this area finally realizing its potential, a result that will benefit both River Forest and Oak Park.

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