March 27, 2001

School board to recruit principals-New Program aims for professionals outside of education

CHICAGO—Professionals from outside the field of education will be recruited to become school principals under a Chicago School Board experiment set to begin this summer, board president Gery Chico said Monday.

Starting in July, 10 recruits will begin 13 months of tuition-free intensive training that will include a six-week summer course conducted by National-Louis University and a one-year residency under the mentorship of a Chicago public school principal.

“We would be cheating ourselves to not keep our minds open and look at the potential sources for new leaders for the Chicago Public Schools,” Chico said.

Upon board approval, Chicago would be “the flagship of an urban principal corps nationwide,” said Jonathan Schnur, CEO of New Leaders for New Schools, a New York-based nonprofit that will recruit and train the new school principals.

The two-year pilot program, which the school board will vote on Wednesday, will receive $1.2 million from the Chicago Public Education Fund and the Los Angeles-based Eli Broad Foundation. The Chicago Public Schools will pay each candidate a $45,000 stipend.

Participants – 10 in the first year and 20 the second – must commit to staying at least three years in the Chicago school system.

The Chicago public school system is about to have a “huge shortage” of principals because 40 percent of them are eligible to retire in the next five years, Schnur said.

For more information, call (312)263-5333.