BEVERLY — Three candidates vying for the job of principal of Kellogg Elementary School participated in a forum Friday night in the gymnasium at 9241 S. Leavitt St. in Beverly.
Interim principal Cory Overstreet introduced himself to the crowd of about 30 parents and teachers as did Roger Beauford, the principal of Fort Dearborn Elementary in Washington Park and Paulette Grissett, the assistant principal of South Shore International College Preparatory High School.
The candidates went on to answer a series of questions authored by the Local School Council, which ultimately decides who to hire.
Each candidate was given four minutes to answer questions that touched on a variety of topics including school budgeting, working with special education students and effective communication with parents.
Overstreet stressed his achievements in the four months since being named interim principal. He came into the job after serving in a similar capacity at George F. Cassell Fine Arts School in Mount Greenwood.
As luck would have it, the former principal at Kellogg, Eileen Scanlan, ended up with the principal job at Cassell over Overstreet. This time, he made the case for staying at Kellogg by pointing to his ability to lead the school through a tumultuous time.
Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) on Sept. 10 proposed a merger of Kellogg with nearby Sutherland Elementary School in Beverly. The effort was said to be driven by declining enrollment from families living within neighborhood boundaries of both schools.
The plan was ultimately scrapped, but not until after a series of hotly contested meetings. Overstreet said he did his best to keep the focus of students and faculty on the day-to-day activities at Kellogg and away from the threatened school closure.
"Right now, we are about to enter the second quarter of the school year, and we have not missed a beat," Overstreet said.
Beauford, a Beverly resident, stressed his efforts in taking his school from probation to being in good standing with Chicago Public Schools. He also presented himself as a local candidate as his three children all graduated from Sutherland.
Grissett, an Ashburn resident, sent her four children to the John H. Vanderpoel Humanities Academy in Beverly. Her husband, James, is a Chicago Police officer and at one point she had three children in college at the same time.
"I really understand the concept of limited resources," said Grissett, likening her personal experience to that of school budgeting.
After the meeting, the candidates met one-on-one with parents and teachers in attendance. Audience members also had an opportunity to submit their thoughts in writing to LSC members.
The LSC meeting stretched late into the night without a decisions. Check back with DNAinfo for continuing coverage of the principal selection process at Kellogg.
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