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New Principal Tapped to Lead Prussing Elementary School

 George Chipain, the assistant principal at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy, will start July 1 at Prussing.
George Chipain, the assistant principal at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy, will start July 1 at Prussing.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone; Linked In

JEFFERSON PARK — The Prussing Elementary School Local School Council picked George Chipain, an assistant principal at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy, to lead the Jefferson Park school for the next four years.

Local School Council Chairwoman Michelle Taylor said Chipain, who is also an adjunct professor at DePaul University, was the clear choice to lead the top-rated school at 4650 N. Menard Ave.

"We were won over by his clear commitment to Chicago Public Schools students and teachers," Taylor said.

Thorp, a Portage Park magnet school which accepts students based on a lottery system, is also a top-rated school.

"It is nice that Dr. Chipain has experience in the immediate area," said Taylor, whose two sons, one in preschool and the other in second grade, attend Prussing. "We're hoping he brings innovative programs to Prussing."

The council's wish list includes a teaching garden as well as afterschool programs.

"That we don't have any afterschool programs says a lot," Taylor said. "We want to build community."

Chipain has been an assistant principal at Thorp for three years, and before that, spent one year as an assistant principal at Jahn World Language School in Avondale. He also spent four years developing math and science lessons for students at 34 Northwest Side schools, according to district records.

Chipain, who could not be reached Friday for comment, will replace Lloyd Ehrenberg, who led Prussing Elementary for 20 years. Chipain will start July 1.

The other finalist for the position was Karen Valentine, the interim principal at Ogden International School, officials said.

"I'm excited about what my sons will be exposed to thanks to Dr. Chipain," Taylor said.

Ehrenberg, who announced in November that he would not seek another four-year contract to continue as principal, resigned unexpectedly May 8, Taylor said.

Kathleen Bandolik, who retired as principal of Thorp Academy in 2012, will serve as the school's interim principal for the remainder of the school year, officials said.

CPS officials said Ehrenberg retired. Ehrenberg could not be reached for comment.

In September, Prussing got a third modular building with six classrooms to help relieve severe overcrowding.

While the space crunch at Prussing has been alleviated, the school is housed in an old building that the school's staff has been struggling to maintain, Taylor said.

"In the winter, the classrooms were 80 degrees," Taylor said.

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