Members of Lane Technical College Prep High School’s local school council agreed on Thursday to extend the hiring period for a new principal until April 28.
“We want enough qualified candidates to make a wonderful, educated decision,” said Lisa Applebaum, parent and chairwoman of the council.
Applebaum approved the selection of a new principal to be extended until April 28.
Lane Tech, the selective magnet school on Chicago’s North Side has the highest enrollment of any school in the city at 4,200 students. The school began its principal search after the current principal, Christopher Dignam, announced his resignation in February to take a position at Deerfield High School.
At the council meeting, teachers, parents and residents took the time to praise the school but also shared their concerns about the hiring of a new principal.
“We need a principal that seeks to encourage,” said Kristin Star, an English teacher and librarian at Lane Tech for 20 years.
“Going forward, we need a leader that maintains the traditions of Lane. We need an educational leader with an appreciation for the past, more than two to three years of experience and someone to stand up for what is right,” Star said.
Star said she prefers the next principal come from outside the school, but expressed reservations about making her opinions known to the council.
“It is professional suicide to speak at an LSC meeting,” Star said.
Meredith Bantz, Lane Tech’s head of counseling, said she has worked at the school for eight years and said she needs more staff if the school wants to address the mental health needs of its students.
“Our students are under-served,” Bantz said. “There is one counselor for every 450 students. Dr. Dignam, the current Principal, was able to add one and a half counselors for the 2014-15 school year and that I hope the new Principal will continue this trend because this is a high need area. ”
A meeting will be held on April 23 at 6 p.m. to discuss the new principal selection.
NOTE: This story contains a correction to a quote by Meredith Bantz.