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Divisive Lake View HS Principal Leaves School for Network Role

By Serena Dai | April 26, 2014 2:24pm | Updated on April 28, 2014 8:44am
 Lillith Werner, principal at Lake View High School, at a local school council meeting
Lillith Werner, principal at Lake View High School, at a local school council meeting
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DNAinfo/Serena Dai

LAKEVIEW — Lake View High School's principal, who's been a divisive figure among some of the staff, announced Friday that she would be leaving the position "to provide support to all of our area high schools," according to a letter to the community.

Lilith Werner's last day as principal was Friday. Assistant principals Michael Cox and Rhonda Varney will continue at the school, as well as STEM coordinator Jennifer Sutton.

"Thank you for three exciting years as your Principal," the letter from Werner said. "We have seen great changes at Lake View and I am happy I will be able to continue supporting Lake View's STEM, Arts, and Humanities program."

Werner has been unpopular among some members of the staff, who took to sending anonymous letters to reporters, local officials and school council members this year — alleging that she instilled a culture of paranoia and intimidation at the school.

Council members and administration never officially acted due to the anonymity of the letters. Several also said they had not personally seen proof of alleged problems, while some staff members said the letter writers were a small group of "toxic" people.

But internal tensions came to light last month after Werner asked the council to redo a staff survey rating her performance after several of the evaluation forms went missing. Some staffers suspected that teachers were trying to game the system by swiping surveys.

Despite the tensions, Werner's departure before the end of the school year came as a surprise to some. As late as last Tuesday, Werner was discussing action plans and goals for the next year with teachers, according to one staff member.

Emails and calls to the school council's chair and CPS were not immediately returned.

The school council, which is responsible for hiring a new principal, will be holding its next meeting on Wednesday, April 30 at 6 p.m. in the school's social room, 4015 N. Ashland Ave.

"It has been my great honor working with you and for all our students," Werner's letter said.

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