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Taft Principal Finalists to Appear at Public Forum Monday

 Taft High School.
Taft High School.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

NORWOOD PARK — Taft High School's Principal Selection Committee has narrowed its field of candidates to three finalists, who will meet with members of the community at a public forum Monday night.

The Local School Council decided not to release the names of the finalists until the forum at 6 p.m. Monday at Taft High School, 6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., chairwoman Lisa Schweiger said.

"I think we have done quite well, considering the predicament we are in," Schweiger said. 

Taft has been without a principal since November, when Mary Kay Cappitelli stepped down because of failing health. She retired in April, allowing the council to begin the search for a replacement.

Acting Principal Carolyn Rownd, who had been an assistant principal at Jones College Prep, has led the high school — the city's most crowded — since then, earning rave reviews from Schweiger and other school officials.

It is unclear whether Rownd applied for the job on a permanent basis, or whether she was one of the finalists.

Taft's next principal should be a person who is comfortable simultaneously working on several projects and initiatives ranging from athletics to curriculum and instruction issues, Schweiger said.

The search for a replacement for Cappitelli has been extensive and thorough, Schweiger said.

"I'm very pleased with the work" of the principal selection committee, Schweiger said. "They have taken the process very seriously."

Although the next principal will be offered a four-year contract, the "right person" for Taft is someone who could serve as Taft's leader for the long term, perhaps until he or she retires, Schweiger said.

In March, a $17 million renovation of the 74-year-old building began. The project promises to repair the crumbling building, replace windows, build several new science labs and replace lockers.

Approximately 3,195 Taft students attend class in a building with an ideal capacity of 2,184 students, making it the most crowded Chicago Public Schools high school, according to data released by CPS.

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

Attendees' feedback will be collected by the Principal Selection Committee, which will make a recommendation to the council. The council has the ultimate authority to pick a principal before June 30.

Those unable to attend Monday's forum can send questions to ttaftprincipalselection@gmail.com. Attendees should use the entrance to the school on Natoma Avenue.

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