AT PERSHING ROAD Pamela Price, a parent trainer and advocate for Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), is now working in the Office of School and Community Relations as a parent advocate for local school councils in Region 2. … William Harnedy, principal of Lenart Regional Gifted Center, is now director of pupil support services. … Mary Koblas, director of immigrant and refugee affairs for the City of Chicago, is now director of the ombudsman program in the Office of School and Community Relations. …Laura Steele, a former staffer for Mayor Richard M. Daley, is now acting director of communications. Bennie Currie, who previously held that post, is now handling internal and external communications for the Chicago Academy for School Leadership, a joint project of the School Reform Board and the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. … Elisabeth Solomon, a budget analyst for the City of Chicago, is now a consultant to the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs; her contract provides for up to $63,000.

MOVING IN/ON The CityWide Coalition for School Reform, which once drew scores of educators and activists to retreats and meetings, has dissolved for lack of participation. Executive Director Lafayette Ford says the group could not adjust to keep up with the fast pace of the new administration. Grace Troccolo now is an intern in the board’s Office of High School Restructuring, and Dion Miller Perez works for the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group. Coalition convenor Anne Hallett says reform activists are thinking about what they need to keep active and united. … Jacqueline Simmons, formerly principal of Robeson High in Englewood and assistant director of High School Services and Support, is now working for the Illinois State Board of Education to help develop its new School Quality Review program.

PRINCIPALS The following interim principals have received regular contracts: Samuel C. Jordan at Jesse Owens Academy, Martha P. Miranda at Salazar Bilingual, Arthur Slater at Austin High and Kenneth M. Staral at Ogden Elementary.

AWARDS Chicago Vocational High School will get an Exemplary Schools award after all. “It’s wonderful,” says Principal Betty Despenza-Green. “I applaud Paul Vallas for taking another look at the criteria.” CVS was selected for a leadership award by the broad-based group that launched the recognition program more than a year ago. After winners were announced in June, however, Vallas struck the school from the list because of low test scoreseven though the program singled out some schools, including CVS, for model programs rather than schoolwide achievement. … Andrea L. Stewart, who teaches U.S. and African-American history at Orr Community Academy High School in Humboldt Park is one of 10 finalists for the Illinois Teacher of the Year Award.

NEW TV SHOW Every Friday at 7 p.m., WYCC-TV (Channel 20) presents “Educate!” a 30-minute program examining the choices and challenges facing Chicago students, parents and educators. The show is repeated at 8 p.m. Sunday. Carol Davis Dillard is host. Launched in July, topics have included charter schools, standards, bilingual education and technology.

LSCAB Regina Valsamis, a parent member of the Hawthorne Elementary LSC, has replaced Victoria Pawlukowsky as the elected Region 1 representative on the Local School Council Advisory Board. Pawlukowsky was forced to step down from her council and the board when her child graduated. The administration identified Valsamis as the no. 2 vote-getter in Region 1. However, central office has refused to disclose vote totals for any candidates. Donna Sumanas, an aide to policy chief Leonard Dominguez, told CATALYST last April that individual vote totals were being withheld because “they did not want candidates to feel badly if they did not get many votes.” An April 29 request filed under the Freedom of Information Act has gone unanswered. … The Reform Board has appointed Maria Reynoso, a parent member of the Kanoon LSC, and Ruby Chan, a parent member of the Mark Sheridan LSC, to replace Jose Luis Lopez of the Tonti LSC and Rita Yu of the Healy LSC, both of whom resigned.

SMALL SCHOOLS CONFERENCE A national conference on small-school restructuring will be held Dec. 12-14 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sponsors: Small Schools Workshop and the Great Cities Initiative at UIC. Cost: $150 per person or $125 per person for groups of three or more. For more information: Olivia Mulcahy at (312) 413-9417 or

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