ROSCOE VILLAGE — For the first time in recent memory, Lane Tech College Prep has hired a principal from outside its own walls, with the Local School Council offering a four-year contract to Taft assistant principal Brian Tennison Thursday night.
After spending nearly an hour in a closed session debating their decision, members of the LSC voted 10-1 in favor of Tennison. The lone nay vote came from staff representative Jean Gallardo.
"Mr. Tennison very excitedly accepted the contract. He starts Monday," said LSC chairwoman Emily Haite.
Tennison was not in attendance at the meeting and received the news from Haite by phone.
His fellow finalist, Lane Tech assistant principal Edwina Thompson, left the meeting without comment.
Lane Tech, the largest school within CPS with an enrollment of more than 4,200 students, has a history of not only promoting its assistant principals, but of hiring alumni for the top administrative post.
Tennison, by contrast, spent 16 years as a social studies teacher at Whitney Young and has held assistant principal positions at Taft and Von Steuben.
He becomes Lane's fourth principal in five years and fifth in 10. Predecessors Keith Foley and Toni LoBosco retired in 2006 and 2012 respectively. Foley is a Lane alum and both he and LoBosco served as assistant principals at the school.
Christopher Dignam and Kathryn Anderson both decamped for suburban Deerfield — Dignam (a Lane alum) resigned in 2015 and his successor, Anderson, resigned this June. The two were also former assistant principals at Lane.
"This has not been an easy decision for us. A lot of us have not been sleeping well," said Haite. "It's a big responsibility for this LSC."
Council vice chairwoman Julie Coffman emphasized that "this was not a vote against anybody," adding, "we have nothing but empathy for someone [Thompson] we hold so dear."
Though only a handful of Lane Tech teachers and parents turned out for Thursday's vote, more than 100 attended a candidate forum Tuesday night.
"We hope all of you will continue to have faith and trust in us," Coffman said. "It's going to take all of us to make Brian successful."
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