GLADSTONE PARK — Acting Principal A.J. Stich will lead the Hitch Elementary School until June after the death of Principal Deborah "Debby" Reese, Chicago Public Schools officials said.
After the school year ends, the Hitch Local School Council will work with district officials to develop a plan to select a permanent replacement for Reese and may vote to offer Stich a contract, said CPS spokeswoman Lauren Huffman.
Stich, who was assistant principal at Dever Elementary School in Norwood Park until February when he came to Hitch to fill in for Reese who went on medical leave, declined to discuss his new position.
Stich, who has also worked in the Boston public schools, earned a master's degree in education from Harvard University in 2012.
Reese, 63, died Feb. 28 of cancer. She was principal of Hitch for 10 years.
Anna Alvarado, the chief of elementary and high schools on the Northwest and Far Northwest Side, said in a statement that Reese will be missed.
"Her work has made an important impact in our district and we are truly better for the efforts she has made to improve the academic success of our students," the statement said.
Ald. John Arena (45th) said he would support Stich completing the school year as principal of Hitch. Local School Council member John Garrido also said Stich should finish the year to avoid further disruptions.
A memorial for Reese will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. March 22 at St. Tarcissus, 6020 W. Ardmore Ave. Garrido said.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, Reese’s family requested that donations be made to Misericordia, a home for children and adults with mental or physical disabilities. Donations should include the Misericordia Family Reference Number MFA #1360 of Reese's son, Peter Parizanski, who lives at Misericordia.
Reese's older son, Jason Parizanski, is a Chicago police officer.