HYDE PARK — Ray Elementary School parents got a chance to meet the three finalists for principal next year, all of whom would be new to the school.
Beth Bazer, assistant principal at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy; Eric Fay, assistant principal at Jones College Prep; and Lisa Dallacqua, assistant principal at Inter-American Magnet School, all made their cases for the top job at the school at 5631 S. Kimbark Ave. at a public forum Tuesday night.
“I’ve definitely had experience turning around schools and helping them achieve their potential,” Fay said.
Dallacqua boasted of a commitment to incorporating educational play as part of the learning process.
“When kids are moving, their brains light up,” she said.
Bazer promised a school atmosphere of collaboration in which teachers, parents and the principal all worked together to help the students.
“They’re going to walk out prepared to go to the high school of their choice,” she said.
Noticeably absent from the forum was Interim Principal Antonia Hill, who did not make the final cut on Monday night when the principal selection committee of the local school council whittled its list of nine candidates down to three.
Members of the principal selection committee declined to say why Hill did not make the final cut except to say that she did not score within the top three on the committee’s rubric.
“We had that discussion last night,” committee Co-Chairman Patrick Brutus said. “The numbers fell where they fell.”
Parents were concerned that the final three candidates were too similar in some regards. And members of the principal selection committee also expressed concerns that their process took a pool of mostly black candidates and picked out three finalists who were all white assistant principals at North Side schools.
“This is a democracy and this is how it works in a democracy,” said Sharon Burgin, who is on the principal selection committee, adding that she had hoped Hill would be among the finalists. “I feel we have two very strong candidates of the three.”
The principal selection committee will be visiting the schools of each of the three candidates over the next week and calling their references.
The local school council will meet next on May 27 and is expected to vote on a candidate within a week of the meeting.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: