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Ogden International Drafts Job Post After Controversial Principal Resigns

 Ogden International School at 24 W. Walton St.
Ogden International School at 24 W. Walton St.
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DNAinfo/Lizzie Schiffman

STREETERVILLE — Nearly a month after classes began at Ogden International School — and nearly three months after the school's principal and vice principal were abruptly "reassigned" — parents and community members have drafted a want ad to find his replacement.

The job post is more of a "formality" and won't be running in classifieds or posted on message boards, but provided members of the Local School Council a chance to weigh in on the principal's possible replacements.

The four-page "Principal Position Announcement" approved at an LSC meeting Monday seeks a certified administrator with a master's degree in education and more than five years of experience in a school-based leadership position "in a comparable school district."

The document describes Ogden, at 1250 W. Erie St., as an "urban," "extremely diverse" environment that prioritizes in "provid[ing] a distinctive, high-quality international education, which cultivates intellectual inquiry and global engagement."

In addition to Chicago Public Schools' standard principal requirements, the LSC specifically requested candidates with a background working with diverse learners, including "differentiated instruction, behavioral support and crisis interventions," since the school has a robust community of students in Individualized Education Programs.

The announcement also requests a principal with the ability to "travel, maintain and further develop international relations."

Principal Kenneth Staral, who was reassigned after CPS launched an investigation into a "personnel matter" involving Staral and Vice Principal Anthony Vandarakis, made headlines in 2011 after charging $17,000 at high-end restaurants and hotels overseas while traveling to promote and expand the school's international programming. He later resigned, citing health issues.

Despite the bad press, many parents and students sang the praises of the principal, who led the school since 1996, at a public meeting for parents and teachers July 9 where Staral's departure was announced but not explained.

"He was the heart and soul of this school," said T.J. Bernahl, 16, a senior who's been at the school since first grade.

CPS spokeswoman Keiana Barrett said last month that the district "will continue to work with LSC and the community on the selection of a permanent principal for Ogden International."

Currently led by retired administrator David Domovic, the school reported that 10-day enrollment numbers were slightly less than projected, but higher than last year's total of 784, prompting no adjustments to the annual budget. The new enrollment figure was not released at the meeting.

By the end of this week, the last remaining teaching vacancy out of 22 identified at the end of the 2012-2013 school year will be filled, an LSC representative announced at Monday's LSC meeting.

Anticipated overcrowding in coming years will require a reassessment of space use at the two-campus school this year, according to Leslie Boozer, Chief of Schools for the North/Northwest Side High School Network.