Where All The (Good) Principals At?

Where All The (Good) Principals At?

There are currently 16 principal positions that are officially open, according to CPS, currently being led by APs and other leaders (presumably network staff) in the meantime while the search continues.

Is that a lot, or not many, compared to previous years?  I know that the job is a tough one, increasingly so given the teacher evaluation and budgeting responsibilities, but 16 openings doesn’t seem all that high, frankly, given all the stories about abrupt departures and raids from other districts.

What do you think? Also — does anyone know the list of schools?  CPS hasn’t gotten it back to me, and I only know of one spot — Ravenswood, whose job posting is below.

People keep saying that the pool is shallow and small (not a good combination) — it seems like it’s changed dramatically in recent years.  I’m told that there are only 50 names in the current eligible pool [Principal Candidate Pool under Board Policy # 13-0227-P02] which also seems low.

Catalyst says it’s more like 450, which seems more realistic: Principal recruiting strategies touted (Feb 2013), A pipeline for principals (Oct 2012)


Network/collaborative:   Ravenswood Ridge Network

School name/address:   RAVENSWOOD ELEMENTARY         4332 N. Paulina St.

Administrative grade :   XX

Submit to:     Greg Janes, LSC Chair


To apply, candidates must submit their resume, cover letter, and requested application materials to cpsprincipals@cps.edu as outlined in Principalship Position Informaton section of the bulletin.  Additional attachments will not be accepted.

Please submit your cover letter and resume using the following format:

Last Name. First Name Cover Letter / Resume

Ex: Smith. John Cover Letter/ Smith. John Resume

This is a four-year performance contract. The applicant must be an eligible member of the Principal Candidate Pool under Board Policy # 13-0227-P02 “Requirements for the Selection of Chicago Public Schools Principals.”  Please see Principalship Position information or visit www.cpsleaders.com


Application deadline:   August 20, 2013

Position overview:   Principal, Ravenswood Elementary School

The mission of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is to ensure that every child in every community has access to a high quality education and graduates ready for college and career. To fulfill our mission, we are seeking innovative, entrepreneurial, results-oriented school leaders with a deep sense of responsibility and commitment, not only to the students in their schools, but also to the communities in which their schools reside. Principals at CPS are key levers for change and are critical to the success of our schools.

At Chicago Public Schools, we expect principals to:

  • Create powerful professional learning systems that guarantee exceptional teaching and learning for students
  • Champion teacher excellence through a focus on continuous improvement
  • Establish, nurture and protect a culture driven by college and career readiness
  • Empower and motivate families and communities to become engaged in student learning
  • Relentlessly pursue self-disciplined thinking and actions

School’s information:

Ravenswood Elementary is a fine and performing arts magnet-cluster school located in a residential neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side. Ravenswood draws from and thrives on the rich diversity of its immediate neighborhood and beyond. Its students benefit from a community of dedicated teachers and families who go above and beyond expectations every day to create innovative and enriching learning experiences for the school’s 480 students.

Ravenswood’s educational philosophy revolves around inquiry-based learning, the readers’ and writers’ workshop model, and balanced literacy. Arts are fully integrated into every child’s experience at Ravenswood in a sophisticated and aligned way that reinforces core learning and individual development. Ravenswood also incorporates positive discipline into its teaching approach, and considers social-emotional learning to be as integral to each child’s development as math, reading or science.

Instructional focus: Workshop model, social-emotional development, arts integration, inquiry-based learning.

Required credentials:

At least three years of proven, successful experience in a school-based leadership position in a comparable school district.

Master’s degree in education or a related field of study from an accredited institution.

Valid State of Illinois Administrators Certificate (Type 75)

Current CPS Principal Eligibility Status at the time of selection.

Desirable Skills and Abilities

  1. Students
    1. Implements knowledge of the Core Curriculum State Standards (CCSS) as demonstrated through development of effective unit and lesson planning aligned with data-driven practices.
    2. Demonstrates proven experience in improving student outcomes and a belief that all students can achieve at a high level
    3. Has experience promoting parental involvement in student learning
    4. Fosters a culture of mutual respect among children.
  2. Teachers
    1. Supports teacher growth through meaningful and constructive evaluation
    2. Demonstrates knowledge and experience implementing current best practice instructional models, ongoing assessment, and differentiated instruction.
    3. Fosters a culture of shared leadership and continually creates new leadership opportunities among staff
    4. Develops teaching staff that motivate and inspire students who learn at different abilities, including those with special needs and English language learners, as well as those performing above grade level.
    5. Fosters a culture of mutual respect among teachers. Creates a culture of transparency and collegiality through open, direct, and sincere dialogue.
  3. Community
    1. Displays an ability to build and sustain effective relationships with businesses, community and other external partners, and to promote Ravenswood creatively through outreach and marketing strategies.
    2. Uses strong communication skills to promote Ravenswood School, school philosophies, and various opportunities with various constituents in the local and surrounding community.
    3. Engages parent and community support to promote the mission and vision of Ravenswood School. Promotes leadership beyond teaching and school staff to engage parent and community leaders in meaningful ways.
  4. Managerial Leadership
    1. Possesses excellent analytical, administrative, problem-solving, and organizational skills.
    2. Has demonstrated expertise in school operations, budgeting, task delegation, time management, and task prioritization.
    3. Possesses the ability to navigate CPS central office bureaucracy. Has a proven track record of projecting and managing school budgets as well as pursuing additional resourcesand leveraging existing dollars.


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  • Pershing (West merged back into East) is interviewing;
    Ray - I don't know if they voted in their new principal from Pershing;
    North Side College Prep;
    Ogden International

    That's four right there.

  • from a current AP:

    "I think the # of people on the eligibility is low (50) and probably not correct. The Chicago Leadership Collective had approximately 90 members last year & all had to go through principal eligibility. Obviously not all passed but 50 seems low. Plus you add into it the # of administrators who have been on it from previous years and it adds up. I've heard the # is close to 400 but don't quote me on it."

    so 400 eligible and 16 jobs open ?

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    I just read this as I am exploring how to move from teaching into administration.I for one would welcome the opportunity to share my experience, education and desire to lead a school. I would love to see a better network of experienced Administrators take those of us who desire the opportunity under their wings. The application process in most districts prohibits the opportunity to sit before a selection committee so it seems. Hoping 2014-2015 will be the year I move upward and onward!

  • Since CPS will not treat principals with the respect they deserve, as they continue to reduce instructional positions which will drop scores, and blame principals for everything, expose them to mean chiefs, heck you cannot even get you school cleaned or major items fixed, there will be many more principals leaving or not staying for long.

  • Yes, administrators and teachers are leaving in droves-the quality of the principals is in a downward spiral. Above average teachers will not work for abusive principals and will leave for other systems. Watch for lawsuits/EEOC complaints in the fall especially in the Midway Network.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    at which school(s)? and where is the proof? or is this more corrosive, toxic hearsay from folks that don't mind helping Rahm destroy the school district?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Think of the legacy of la bruja from Austin/Boston......

  • In reply to district299reader:

    lawsuits from the E3s from that period of time? Wouldn't they have come to light by now?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    How many LSCs were allegedly influenced by the previous Midway Chief to hire her hand picked minions and how many are having serious issues both with staff and students? How many are still in the Midway Network? Not all legacies are positive....

  • In reply to district299reader:

    person I know in facilities said parents on south side including midway used to complain they don't get as much money as north side schools but in fact its the way those former principals used the funds and failed to keep their buildings in good shape. so you are right certain legacies aren't positive.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I was involved in grievances that went to The Illinois Dept. of Labor and arbitration that the board settled a year ago. Among other things the board agreed to remove low ratings and E3s. You are not necessarily going to know about these cases.

  • Principals get paid about $110,000 to $130,000 a year. Sounds to be a lot until you add up all hours of 60+ a week 50 weeks a year and it isn't much. I know principals that routinely pull 80 hours multiple week. I don't know a single principal that doesn't work while on vacation. Principals are slaves to their smart phone and email. The daily bulletins and emails from central office make your eyes bleed. Then add to it how the district treats principals. Seen the new principal evaluation? Makes the teacher evaluation look like child's play. CPS tells principals they have all this autonomy but gives them a million things to do. Constant fire drills and no one ever explains why we need to do this stuff. Add to it how CPS higher-ups treat principals. Alicia Winkler addressed SUPES last year and made everyone in the room feel like they had been scolded. She has also told principals that the engineer job is critical which is why they don't have time to supervise custodians which is why principals have to supervise them. Apparently principals have ample time. Add to it that principals haven't had a raise in 3 years. Add to it that CPS rarely asks for principal input before they make drastic changes. On top of all that principals are sent to SUPES training at a moments notice and not forewarned of dates in advance even though CPS had known the dates for months. No principal would ever be as dismissive towards their faculty as CPS is towards their principals. The fact three principals have spoken out in the past couple weeks including principal at Peck, principal from Tarkington, and "anonymous" principal on radio, it is almost guaranteed that if principals were in a union they would be on strike. Instead all the good ones are going to leave. CPS wants to run itself like a business. They must think principals are as valuable and replaceable as managers of fast food restaurants.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    ... while there are some good principals who work with staff to improve schools for students there are too many who are constantly dismissive of faculty. Many of the bottom of the barrel principals recently hired by CPS think they will make themselves look good by abusing staff. Sad but true.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The work load dilemma is common for executives marking over 100k a year. It's not fun but it is what is expected in the private sector. I worked exactly those kind of hours in the commodities industry in the 1980s and early 1990s before going back to teaching.

    One reason I went back into the education sector was to have time to help raise our children. Many others did the same thing. Work intensification has caught up with the education sector and its not fun.

    Rod Estvan

  • Rod, with all due respect, have you ever been a principal? I don't think you have a clue what it's like. Even if you did, comparing a principal's salary to one in the commodities sector is laughable. I know folks in that industry that have STARTING salaries of six figures. The lure of future salaries and bonuses worth millions of dollars would cause anyone to work that many hours. Principals have no such promise. They haven't even had a raise in 3 years. Now they are actually LOSING benefits, such as sick day banks despite being on the clock 24-7-365, while receiving additional responsibilities and even higher accountability, all while CPS is saying they have "autonomy". Districts in other parts of the country actually shut down during winter and spring breaks to allow their administrators to recharge. What do we do in CPS? We work them harder! Then CPS wonders why there is no change. BECAUSE WE ARE ALL EXHAUSTED!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Actually when I was a risk manager in the commodities industry I made a salary comparable to a CPS principal. As you point out I did get a bonus, not always, but often. I did not get a defined retirement plan similar to what principals get, but I did get a parachute when I left the industry.

    Executives making a 100k to 150k in the health care industry work massive hours to and generally do not get bonus payments or very small ones. I live with one so I really know the kind of hours they work. I am not attempting to denigrate the work principals do in the least, but if you want to make over 100k in today's America you have to put in massive hours and give up a lot of family life. It's not until you get to the CEO level that you can control your work flow and reap huge rewards.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Please, cry me a river. Principals knew what they were getting into when they took he job. It's not like CPS is an unknown entity and they didn't know what was going on. As far as not getting a raise in the past three years, what about the "bonuses" my principal has received during those years?

  • In reply to teachervoice:

    Please excuse the typo. It should read the, not he.

  • In reply to teachervoice:

    I agree that principals hired within the last 10 years should have known what they were getting into. But principals hired many years ago probably had no idea that they would be required to do as much as they are now and I can understand how they feel even if they are making over $100k a year.

    This also happened in the private sector. For example 25 years ago a relatively junior executives likely had either a secretary or access to one to perform many routine duties like letter writing and scheduling. Those days are long gone and executives at relatively high levels have to perform all of these routine functions themselves plus because of wireless communications they are now on call 24/7.

    Like I said its not fun, but it is the price to be paid these days for making over a $100k a year.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    How many principals have been around for more than 10 years? Very few.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I have never seen any data on the length of service of the average CPS principal. I would be interested in seeing any data you could post on that issue.

    Rod Estvan

  • Hopefully some more principals than the one or two quoted on DNAinfo can use some stones and speak up like the teachers did last year. Maybe the Trib and Suntimes will actually cover it. Whining about it on a blog isn't going to do anything.

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