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Wells Principal Who Raised Graduation Rates Leaves For CPS Central Office

By Alisa Hauser | August 4, 2017 7:36pm | Updated on August 7, 2017 8:29am
 Wells Community Academy Principal Rita Raichoudhuri.
Wells Principal Rita Raichoudhuri
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EAST VILLAGE — The principal of Wells Community Academy High School announced Friday she's leaving her role at the helm of the neighborhood school to join the Chicago Public Schools' central office.

Rita Raichoudhuri wrote in an email to the school community that she was resigning "with much sadness and sorrow." 

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this fine institution and all of you for the past four years," she wrote.

Her last day at the school at 936 N. Ashland Ave. will be Sept. 30. On Wednesday, the school's local school council will get to work finding a replacement for Raichoudhuri.

The 37-year-old Raichoudhuri — who joined Wells in the fall of 2013 after working there the year prior as a resident principal under her predecessor Ernesto Matias — will become the executive director of CPS' Office of College and Career Success.

The Office of College and Career Success strives to keep students across the system in grades K-12 "engaged in school and on-track for success," according to its website.

Located in West Town's East Village, Wells' four-story brick building has capacity for 1,600 students but has been considered underutilized by CPS, with just 430 students enrolled at the start of the most recent school year and 375 by year's end.

The school serves students who live in the neighborhoods of West Town, Noble Square, East Village, Ukrainian Village, Wicker Park and Bucktown.

Under Raichoudhuri's leadership, Wells got off probation during the 2014-15 school year, which meant it was the first time in 16 years that the LSC could vote on the budget and other school matters.

During a groundbreaking ceremony for a new sports field on Thursday, Raichoudhuri shared statistics about the improving school, which has seen its graduation rate escalate from 67 to 96 percent and its college enrollment increase from 55 to 77 percent.

In her announcement, Raichoudhuri thanked the school community for its love, friendship, support and guidance that she said enabled her to grow as a leader.

"I am truly honored that they found me worthy and capable of doing this very important work at the district level. It was not an easy decision to make, and I spent countless sleepless nights before I came to the decision that I did," Raichoudhuri said.

Raichoudhuri started her teaching career at a middle school in northern California and joined Chicago Public Schools eight years ago as a senior manager in the Office of Performance under former CEO Ron Huberman.

"I'm still here for two more months to ensure a smooth transition and the selection of a strong candidate," Raichoudhuri said.

When asked by DNAinfo what she will miss most about working at Wells, Raichoudhuri wrote, "The people (the faculty, staff, partners, families and students of Wells that loved me and nurtured me and allowed me to lead them). The sense of family that I don't think I'll find anywhere else."