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Jones College Prep Assistant Principal Tapped to Lead Taft High School

By Heather Cherone | November 18, 2013 3:06pm
  Carolyn Rownd will replace Taft High School Principal Mary Kay Cappitelli, who resigned Friday.
Jones College Prep Assistant Principal Tapped to Lead Taft High School
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NORWOOD PARK — Carolyn Rownd, an assistant principal at Jones College Prep, will take the top job at Taft High School, Chicago Public Schools officials announced Monday.

Rownd, who was one of three finalists in the search for a new principal for Ravenswood Elementary School, will replace former Principal Mary Kay Cappitelli, who resigned Friday, citing concerns about her health.

In a message to Taft parents and students Monday morning, Rownd thanked Cappitelli for her service and said she was looking forward to working at the Far Northwest Side high school, which has about 3,250 students.

"I have always taken pride in providing leadership that helps the school community build the best academically challenging programs possible to meet the needs of all students," Rownd wrote. "Along with teachers, support staff, parents and Chicago community, I will work to continue the legacy of success established at Taft."

Rownd was an assistant principal at Jones for five years, coming to the Downtown selective-enrollment school from Notre Dame Academy in Middleburg, Va.

Rownd will serve as acting principal at Taft until the end of the school year, Anna Alvarado, the chief of elementary and high schools on the Northwest and Far Northwest Side, wrote in a separate letter to Taft parents and students.

Cappitelli is taking an extended medical leave, and has not officially retired, Alvarado wrote. The former principal will consult with Taft faculty and staff as needed, she added.

If Cappitelli retires, the Taft Local School Council will begin the formal search for a permanent principal, but he or she would not take over until the 2013-14 academic year begins in September, Alvarado wrote.

Naming another new principal for Taft, 6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., in the same academic year would "be disruptive to the school learning environment," Alvarado wrote.

At the beginning of the school year, Taft became a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate program.

In the spring, a $17 million renovation of the 74-year-old building is scheduled to start.

"I am very aware that changes in the school leadership, particularly during the school year, can create an unsettling feeling across the school community," Alvarado said. "I am asking for all of us to ensure that we protect the high-quality learning environment for the students at Taft."

Alvarado said her staff would be at the school next week to ease the transition.

"Please know that there is no 'hidden agenda' in this arrangement," Alvarado wrote to parents and students. "It is simply about finding the right leadership for the school under the circumstances."