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Ray Principal Candidates Boast of Doctorates, Budget Savvy in Bids for Job

By Sam Cholke | May 7, 2014 11:52am
 Eighteen candidates for the principal post at Ray Elementary School made their first public bid for the job at a Tuesday night Local School Council meeting.
Ray Principal Interviews
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HYDE PARK — Eighteen candidates for the principal position at Ray Elementary School touted their doctorates and previous jobs at top schools in their first public pitches for the job Tuesday night.

“I’ve had a chance to create schools that my own kids have gone to,” said Turon Ivy, the current principal at Ames Middle School, during his three-minute pitch. “If you don’t lead a school you could send your kids to, you don’t need to lead.”

Turon was one of the few candidates to get nods of agreement from the 15 members of the principal selection committee and community members gathered in the cafeteria of Ray, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave. During the two hours of pitches, candidates were met with placid expressions from an audience that spent most of the time taking copious notes on each candidate.

Beth Bazer boasted of her work driving Hawthorne Scholastic Academy up the school rankings as an assistant principal, while also finishing her doctorate coursework at the University of Chicago.

Eric Fay, the assistant principal at Jones College Prep, matched Bazer with his own doctorate at the University of Illinois at Chicago and boasted that he had taught every grade level from preschool through 12th grade.

Roger Beauford, the jazz musician principal of Fort Dearborn Elementary, was one of several to tout former careers in business on their resumes.

“Next year, the biggest challenge for Ray is adding an eighth grade,” Beauford said. “I have a background as an accountant, so I have no problems with budgets.”

Antonia Hill also made her pitch to make permanent the interim principal position she’s held since former principal Tatia Beckwith was removed in April 2013.

“The main thing with me is my level of commitment. I gave up a four-year contract to come here,” Hill said.

Each candidate passed without comment from the Local School Council, which must select a new principal by May 20.

“We’re at a very good place at a very good pace,” said Tim May, a member of the LSC and principal selection committee after the last presentation.

The principal selection committee will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday to score each candidate and whittle the list to five to eight candidates that will be asked to make a longer presentation to the whole school community on why they deserve the job.