JEFFERSON PARK — The principal of St. Cornelius School — one of four Far Northwest Side Catholic schools set to be consolidated by the Archdiocese of Chicago during the next year — is leaving the school in June, officials announced Wednesday.
Christina Bowman, who has led St. Cornelius since 2010, will become a curriculum coordinator at Des Plaines School District 62, archdiocesan officials said.
Bowman, who had been helping to lead discussions about how St. Cornelius, St. Tarcisscus, Our Lady of Victory and St. Pascal would be combined starting in the 2016-17 school year, said the decision to leave the Jefferson Park Catholic school was "bittersweet."
"I am looking forward to this opportunity where I can focus more on serving the district in the areas of math and science," Bowman wrote in a letter to parents. "This difficult decision was made after reflecting on what is best for me both professionally and personally."
The Rev. Dan Fallon, the pastor of St. Cornelius, 5252 N. Long Ave., said Bowman had done a "terrific" job as principal and would be "sorely missed."
Fallon said Bowman was not leaving St. Cornelius because of the consolidation plan but was motivated by a desire to spend more time with her young family.
"I am most grateful to Mrs. Bowman for the service she has given to our community," Fallon wrote in a letter to parishioners and school parents.
Mary Kearney, the interim superintendent of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office of Catholic Schools, praised Bowman's leadership and wished her well in a letter to the St. Cornelius community.
The archdiocese "is committed to finding an equally exceptional leader to become the next principal of St. Cornelius," Kearney wrote, adding that several candidates have already been identified who have expertise in transitional roles.
Fallon said the search for a new principal will begin after Easter on April 5 with an interview committee made up of school board members.
Fallon acknowledged the search would be a "bit strange" because the new principal would be offered a one-year contract, rather than the typical four-year term.
Bowman will continue to participate in the planning process for the consolidated school during the remaining months of the school year and into the summer, when important decisions are expected to be made, Kearney and Fallon said.
The consolidation is designed "build a sustainable system that ensures a transformative Catholic education in this region of Chicago," Archbishop Blase Cupich said.
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