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Taft High School Principal Resigns Due to Illness

By Heather Cherone | November 13, 2013 4:28pm
  Principal May Kay Cappitelli's last day is Friday after two years in the top job at Taft.
Taft Principal Resigns Because of Illness
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NORWOOD PARK — Taft High School Principal Mary Kay Cappitelli will resign Friday, citing concerns about her health.

In a message sent to parents and students, Cappitelli said it had been an honor to lead the Far Northwest Side school, which has about 3,250 students.

"It saddens me greatly to leave prior to accomplishing the many goals I had in mind, but it is not a matter of choice," Cappitelli wrote. 

Cappitelli has been principal since 2010, and also served as an assistant principal at the school at 6530 West Bryn Mawr Ave. In addition to coping with budget cuts, Cappitelli was shepherding the school's transition to a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate program.

That effort will continue, Cappitelli said, and promised that her departure will have no impact on a $17 million renovation plan scheduled to start in the spring.

Cappitelli did not return phone and email messages from DNAinfo Chicago.

Ald. Mary O'Connor, whose 41st Ward includes Taft, said she would miss Cappitelli's leadership on behalf of the high school.

"Her deep love for the school was very evident," O'Connor said, praising Cappitelli's work to prepare the school for the transition to the IB program, which Chicago Public Schools officials tout as a "challenging and academically advanced curriculum."

The alderman said Cappitelli deserves much of the praise for convincing district officials Taft's 74-year-old building was in desperate need of new science labs, lockers and windows.

"I can remember standing side by side with Mary Kay [Cappitelli] at board meetings, making the best possible case for these investments," O'Connor said.

District officials will select an interim administrator for the school while the Local School Council begins the search for a permanent replacement, said Chicago Public Schools spokesman Dave Miranda.

Taft's new principal should pick up right where Cappitelli left off, O'Connor said.

"We've seen a lot of changes at Taft over the last couple years and I don't think the students or faculty would necessary benefit from a leader who requires on-the-job training," O'Connor said. "We need a strong leader, with energy, and a clear vision for the future of Taft."

O'Connor said she would work with Anna Alvarado, the the chief of elementary and high schools on the Northwest and Far Northwest Side, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and the Local School Council, to pick the best candidate to replace Cappitelli.