WEST RIDGE — After nearly 10 years serving as the head of his alma mater, Chris Jones announced to Mather High School staff Tuesday he would be leaving his role as principal to take on a new administrative position in Texas.
"There are lot of heavy hearts," Jones told DNAinfo. "That always happens with principals who are attached to the building."
Jones said he started working "in the system" with Chicago Public Schools not long after graduating from college and has had multiple roles over his 25 years with the district.
Now, he said it's time to move on and "try to get some recognition for the work I do," Jones said.
"It's Chicago, I mean you know how it is," Jones said with a laugh.
Going through six network chiefs in 10 years and seeing other principals who started around the time he did take on new jobs were among his reasons to look for other opportunities, he said.
Not only could he not do any "more years in the system," he said he had already accomplished what he set out do to as principal.
"It's been nice," Jones said. "We got a lot of work done and did a lot of positive things."
Over the years, Jones has worked as a teacher, coach and principal at the school, something he told staff in an email he "put my heart and soul" into.
Jones said he had applied and interviewed for other positions over the summer but didn't hear back about an opportunity until about two weeks before school started. He told his new employer he needed to first open the school and get things up and running, Jones said.
Now, he's not sure what will happen next. It's a "shame" he'll have little time to work with his replacement to teach them about Mather.
He said he's not yet heard about who might step in as acting or interim principal, adding that some of the new administrative staff at the school are relatively new.
He expects to find that out Friday during a staff meeting Friday with CPS officials.
His last day in the building will be Oct. 6, he said.
"[I] thank all of you for being leaders, mentors and role models to our students," Jones told staff. "When I started this journey I promised that I would leave Mather in a better situation than when I arrived. I believe that has been done."
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