By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Parents and community members were disheartened to see that Ray Elementary School interim principal Antonia “Toni” Hill was not one of the final candidates at the principal screening forum Tuesday evening. The lack of diversity among the panel of candidates was also a concern.
The local school council (LCS) principal screening committee at Ray, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., selected Beth Bazer, currently an assistant principal (AP) at Hawthorne Elementary School, Lisa Dallacqua, currently AP at InterAmerican Elementary School and Jones High School AP Eric Fay, who if selected would be the first male principal at Ray since the late 1970s, as its three finalists for the principal position.
During the question and answer section for the LSC, which consisted of the council answering questions that were written on note cards, many of the questions related to the lack of diversity in the final candidates roster.
“We focused heavily and relied on the rubric,” said principal screening committee co-chair Patrick Brutus, referring to the set of standards the 18-member committee chose to vote by when evaluating the candidates. “We are in a democracy and the numbers fell where they fell.”
Terri Roback, member of the principal screening committee, said the committee was not allowed to consider raced based on the equal employment opportunity act.
“Going into the process, we didn’t know anyone’s race aside from Dr. Hill,” Roback said.
“[Hill] should have been an automatic finalist,” said Ray parent Dorcas Payne. “Her background and the works she’s done to help the school speaks for itself.”
Another question from the community forum asked if the LSC was going to have a celebration of some kind to thank Hill for her work as interim principal.
“We don’t have anything planned yet but we will do something that honors her good work,” said Gordon Mayer, chairman of the Ray LSC.
The next steps for the principal screening committee include reference checks for each finalist, site visits at their current schools and choosing a candidate to recommend to the LSC for approval.
The LSC has until the end of June to choose a new principal or Chicago Public Schools officials will appoint one to the school.