AT CLARK STREET Jorge Ochlander, a former editor for La Raza and former reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, has been hired as a senior assistant to Board President Gery Chico. Ochlander will work on long-term strategic policy planning. The board declined to release his salary.

PRINCIPALS Interim Principal Sylvia Gibson received a four-year contract at Cregier Multiplex. … The following assistant principals have been appointed interim principals: Yvette Curington, Goldblatt; Voyia Davis, Parker; and Dr. Luvenia R. Williams, Collins High, formerly assistant principal at Tesla Alternative. … Reginald Brown, a former principal at Washington and Chicago Vocational high schools, has been appointed interim principal at Julian High. Brown is pulling double duty as the probation manager for Near North High, where he and the local school council have been at odds.

MOVING IN/ON The state Senate confirmed Chicago businessman Ronald J. Gidwitz’s appointment as Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education in May. Appointed by Gov. George Ryan, Gidwitz, 54, is the first Chicagoan to head the state board in 20 years. He previously was chair of Chicago City Colleges; he is a partner at GCG Partners, a private investment firm. … Paula DiPerna, a policy analyst and author, has been appointed president of The Joyce Foundation. DiPerna previously spent 15 years working as vice president of international affairs for the Cousteau Society, a New York-based environmental group. … Sylvia Puente, former public policy director for the defunct Latino Institute, is director of community services at the Pilsen Resurrection Project, a community development group that targets low-income residents. … Karen Girolami Barrett, former communications director at Latino Institute, is now a consultant and project manager for EXCEL, a principal assessment improvement project run by Leadership for Quality Education. … Another former staffer of the Latino Institute, Mario Garcia, is doing organizational development and training work as a consultant to FRAC, PENCUL and LSCs.

SCHOOL CLOSING Albert Einstein Elementary in Oakland will close at the end of this school year due to declining enrollment. The drop in student population is the result of a shift in nearby public housing stock from high-rise to low-rise structures, which caused many residents to relocate, says Principal Solomon Humphries. Future Commons High School, a charter school, is slated to move into the school. Future Commons Principal Constance Montgomery says both parents and teachers have expressed concern about the move because of the gang activity in the area. The move is pending a June meeting with CEO Paul Vallas.

NEW NAMES Robert Burns Elementary School in Little Village, has been re-named Rosario Castellanos Elementary, after the Mexican writer, educator and diplomat. William H. Byford School in Austin was renamed Milton Brunson Specialty School. Brunson was a community hero and education advocate.

OUTSTANDING LEADERSHIP AWARDS The following principals received an Outstanding Leadership Award from the Chicago Public Schools, LaSalle Bank and the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association: Deborah Anderson, Christopher; Marietta Beverly, Clark Middle; Lee Brown, Shoop; Deborah Clark, Skinner; Joan D. Crisler, Dixon; Thomas J. Doyle, Byrne; Scott N. Feaman, Lake View High; Marcia Lee Hartnell, Suder; Gandy Heaston, Haines; Flavia Hernandez, Ortiz de Dominguez; John Jursa, Prosser Career Academy; Madeleine Maraldi, Irving; John C. Mazurek, Casals; Kenneth R. Millar, Dever; Frances M. Oden, Beethoven; Mary Ann Pollett, Montefiore Special; Reynes Reyes, Brentano; Mary Scannell, Kellogg; June G. Shackter, Decatur; Larry J. Thomas, Coles; Sandra Traback, Chavez; and Gail D. Ward, Agassiz. … The following assistant principals received awards: JoAnn M. Percel, Courtenay Language Arts Center; and Aida Latona-Lozano, Saucedo Scholastic Academy. The following central office administrators received awards: Karen Bertucci, Budget Office Deputy Director; Lula Ford, School Leadership Chief; Eva Nickolich, Region 1 Education Officer.

ETHICS CODE AMENDED The Code of Ethics for the Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees has been changed to prohibit contract principals from working at schools where a relative is employed or is a member of the local school council. It also forbids any CPS official or board employee to hire or advocate hiring a relative.

AWARDS/HONORS Paul Vallas received an honorary Doctor of Human Letters degree from Roosevelt University during the school’s 118th Commencement in May. Vallas also delivered the keynote address. … Gery Chico was a featured speaker at Loyola University’s 1999 commencement. … Patricia Anne Barbato, a 4th-grade teacher at Hendricks Academy in Fuller Park, is among 10 winners of the national Reading is Everything contest, which recognizes unique and effective reading instruction. … Head Start teacher Cora Petty of Graham School in Canaryville, is one of six Chicago-area teachers receiving a 1999 Kohl/McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Award. Petty was praised for empowering her students through creative expression, as well as for teaching conflict resolution. … Boone Elementary in West Ridge won the International Reading Association’s 1998-1999 award for Exemplary Reading Program of Illinois. Boone was commended for Project Boost, a program for early readers, and for its tutoring programs involving parents, peers and older students.

STUDENTS TAKE A BOW The Robotics Team from Roosevelt High in Albany Park placed third in a national robotics contest in Orlando, Florida. Members from Roosevelt, the only Chicago high school to enter the competition, also won two scholarships which will send a student to Washington D.C. for a week, and another student to Space Camp. … Seventy-four percent of the Chicago Public School students who entered the Illinois Junior Academy Science Exposition received Outstanding Awards, the top prize for science exhibits.

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