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Dever Elementary School Principal Abruptly Retires, Will Leave Job Nov. 11

By Alex Nitkin | October 27, 2016 3:02pm

DUNNING — Dever Elementary School Principal Rita Ortiz announced this week that she'll retire next month, after 11 years on the job.

Ortiz's last day working at the school, 3436 N. Osceola Ave., will be Friday, Nov. 11, she wrote in an open letter posted to the school's website on Wednesday.

"As much as I was looking forward to another school year," Ortiz wrote, she made her decision "after discussing the possibility with [her] husband and family."

Ortiz gave no further explanation as to why she's leaving in the middle of the school year.

"Please know that I will ensure a smooth transition that minimizes distractions from learning," Ortiz added.

Jason Major, a former assistant principal at Oriole Park Elementary School and Alcott College Prep, will take over as interim principal.

"I believe in transparency, being visible and accessible, and empowering students and teachers to get the most of their abilities," Major wrote in his own letter. "I am familiar with the great work that teachers here are doing, and Mrs. Ortiz speaks very highly of the staff and community.  I look forward to continuing her legacy here and wish her the best in her retirement."

Major has also taught math at Beaubien Elementary School, and he's spent the past four years working as a "network data strategist and instructional support leader" for Network 1 of Chicago Public Schools, he wrote. Network 1 encompasses 47 schools, including Dever.

At the beginning of the school year, Ortiz was forced to lay a teacher off after the school's budget was cut by $213,000, following a 4.5 percent drop in enrollment.

Dever remains slightly overcrowded, with 748 students enrolled in the school built to accommodate just 720.

More than 50 Chicago Public Schools principals have resigned or retired so far in 2016, far outpacing previous years.

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