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District 233 board will look for interim principal for H-F High

The District 233 school board agreed to hire a principal for Homewood-Flossmoor High School on an interim contract for the 2021-22 school year and begin the search process for H-F’s next principal. 

Superintendent Von Mansfield and Superintendent-elect Scott Wakeley will be reviewing resumes to recommend to the board a person who will serve for a maximum 120 days.

At a special meeting Tuesday, July 6, the board accepted the resignation of Dr. Jerry Lee Anderson as principal of H-F. She left the district June 30 to become principal at Bloom Township High School.

Before making its decision, the board members considered several options presented by the Personnel Committee. Options included immediately filling the position, promoting someone from within, dividing the principal’s work among current administrative staff and hiring a one-year fill-in principal while the district conducts a search.

Member Debbie Berman strongly advised against dividing the work among staff. She recalled how stressful it was for staff when H-F was without a principal in the 2016-17 school year after the board released principal Ryan Pitcock from his contract. 

Berman said H-F administrators will have enough to deal with being that this will be the first full school year after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several comments to the board suggested the work be shifted to Wakeley who started at H-F July 1. The board members agreed that would shortchange Wakeley from the role the board agreed to in his contract. He is to spend the year in transition learning from outgoing Superintendent Mansfield who retires in June, and spending time acclimating to the campus and working with staff at H-F. 

Wakeley said he is willing to help out where needed, and he is sure staff would help if asked, but he said a principal is an important person in the operation of a school. 

Member Michelle Hoereth said Wakeley will be the one constant through a year of transition, and she urged the incoming superintendent to use “this short amount of time to really work on this relationship building” with fellow administrators, staff, students and the community.

Board President Gerald Pauling said the board will have a busy year ahead, and all the work will directly involve Mansfield and Wakeley. In addition to a principal search, Pauling will ask the board to revisit its work on the District 233 strategic plan, which lapsed due to the pandemic; set out a return-to-school agenda for the coming year that includes a new system of advisory sessions each week for all students; and develop a diversity/equity initiative.

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