D97 appoints new Brooks, Whittier principals

? Mann principal moves to Whittier. New Brooks chief comes from Morton Grove. Appointments expected at board meeting.

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The District 97 Board of Education was expected this week to appoint a Morton Grove middle school principal to head Brooks Middle School, and Mann Elementary Principal to head Whittier Elementary School.

Tom Sindelar, principal of Golf Middle School in Morton Grove, emphasized social growth in getting his current job, according to a newspaper account.

"It's certainly something I think is the foundation for everything else to be built on," Sindelar told the Morton Grove Champion in 2002. "It's something I bring with me. It was a huge part of my previous position."

That position was as principal at River Grove Elementary for eight years.

Incoming Morton Grove PTA president Debbie Gilbert said Sindelar was "always nice" and "always pleasant."

Sindelar would not comment on the expected appointment until it was finalized.

Golf and Brooks share some basic similarities, but differ significantly, too. Although Golf has an extra class of students (grades 5-8, as opposed to Brooks' 6-8), Brooks has more students than the entire Morton Grove district. Economically disadvantaged Brooks students would make up half of Golf's 257-student population, according to state data.

Both schools have roughly 60 percent white students, with Brooks having 34 percent African-American students, and Golf having 25 percent Asian/Pacific Islander students.

Supt. John Fagan said it was a coincidence that Sindelar hails from the same Morton Grove district that Gary Lonquist, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, came from. Fagan said Lonquist was not part of the interview process.

The Whittier community elected to go through the full principal search process, despite the fact that Carol Young, Mann principal, wanted to transfer there. Young has been principal at Mann four years, and in the district 19 years.

Young was not immediately available for comment Tuesday morning.

Fagan said a Mann replacement might be chosen from among select candidates who applied for the Whittier position, and might be given an one-year contract?#34;effectively making the hire an interim?#34;to ensure the person is the right fit.

Sindelar was expected to be signed to a three-year contract, while Young will continue on her present contract with the district.

The Whittier position became available with Paula O'Malley's retirement, while the Brooks position is open after Flora Green's administrative reassignment to assistant director of special services.Contact: dcarter@wjinc.com

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