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Ravenswood Elementary Names New Principal

By Patty Wetli | October 14, 2013 7:29am
 Nate Manaen, the new principal at Ravenswood Elementary School.
Nate Manaen, the new principal at Ravenswood Elementary School.
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DNAinfo/Patty Wetli

RAVENSWOOD — Over the weekend, Ravenswood Elementary School's Principal Nate Manaen played host to both Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Not bad for his second day on the job.

Manaen was chosen to lead the school after an exhaustive search process that included multiple rounds of interviews, site visits and community forums, according to Wendy Vasquez, a Ravenswood parent and member of the Principal Selection Committee.

"It was a deep dive," Vasquez said.

The school received 20 applications for the job, vacated in July by Heather Connolly. The selection committee winnowed that group to three finalists, who spent two days at Ravenswood observing the school in action.

Manaen "felt like a great fit for our community," Vasquez said. "We're confident we found our match."

A native of Minnesota who cautiously admitted he still roots for the Vikings, Manaen previously taught third grade in Minneapolis and Las Vegas.

"I loved the classroom," Manaen said.

The experience of working with 8- and 9-year-olds gave him an appreciation for the importance of primary education, as well as a glimpse of student's growth as they prepared to transition to upper elementary grades, he said.

The 31-year-old comes to Ravenswood after spending a year as an instructional support leader in the Pilsen-Little Village network. He also took part in an intensive CPS principal training program, serving as a principal resident during the 2011-12 school year at Palmer Elementary in North Mayfair.

On Saturday, Manaen took part in Ravenswood's unveiling of plans for a green playground for the school.

"When we do education right, this is what it looks like," he said.