Ray principal removed

On the eve of a major influx of students at Ray Elementary School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., both the principal and vice principal have been abruptly removed, according to a document sent to the Herald.

“This letter is to inform you that [Ray Principal] Ms. Tatia Beckwith and [Vice Principal] Mr. Jeffrey Alstadt have been temporarily reassigned until further notice,” reads the letter sent to members of the Ray community by John P. Price, the chief of schools for the Burnham Park Elementary Network, the area within the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system that covers much of the Mid-South Side.

After being the only one out of four candidates to be present at Ray’s principal forum, Beckwith was voted in by the Ray local school council and officially became principal of the school on July 1, 2011. She replaced retiring principal Bernadette Butler.

Beckwith, who came to CPS from the DeKalb County school district, hired Alstadt, who is also a transplant from Beach Park, Ill. and was once a student in her 6th grade math class, to join her at Ray as assistant principal.

CPS officials have targeted Canter Middle School, 4959 S. Blackstone Ave., for closure at the end of this school year. Ray is one of just two schools that are slated to receive the more than 200 students from Canter.

According to the letter, Cydney Fields, the popular retired principal of Ray, will serve as administrator-in-charge.