Former Brooks principal pens parting piece

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

LeeAndra Khan, the Brooks Middle School principal who resigned last month, recently wrote a blog post that was informed by her experience as a principal in Oak Park and Chicago.

Khan, who left Brooks for a charter school network in Chicago, published the post on July 5 on the education reform website headinthesandblog.org.

The post is called "As I leave my suburban school, lessons I've learned on what makes or breaks a principal."

Khan doesn't get specific about her time at Brooks, but it wouldn't be a stretch to read the essay as an extension of some of the critiques she made of the Oak Park community at the time of her resignation — namely that the whole school community didn't seem ready to push beyond simply changing D97's long history of race-based disparities at the margins.

Khan's most pointed commentary is near the end of her post, in the section about central office, which she says "should function as the platform, the mirror, the shield and the sword for schools leaders," "should disrupt inequities" and should "be working tirelessly to support (publicly and privately) any school leader who is a change agent, social justice warrior and movement starter. This lift helps the school leader feel more confident and higher impact in their pursuit of excellence."

Although Khan doesn't reference D97 specifically, it's reasonable to speculate whether or not there may have been some disagreement between the former Brooks principal and the D97 administration about how much disruption was too much.  

— Michael Romain  

Contact:
Email: michael@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

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Barbara Joan  

Posted: July 14th, 2017 4:03 PM

The children and families schools are supposed to serve. matter the least to those "in charge". it all about $, generous contracts, and running to Attorneys when parents disagree with the incompetence of the staff and "leaders"

Bruce Kline  

Posted: July 13th, 2017 6:52 PM

I agree with both Bob and Jim. I find her jump to a charter school model perplexing giving her recent ranting and ravings.

Jim Frenkel  

Posted: July 13th, 2017 5:27 PM

Agree wholeheartedly with @Robert. For all of the headline grabbing equity talk, Khan did very little during her 2 years to advance the IB program that she was charged with implementing nor did she do particularly well in building support with stakeholder groups like parents. I think it telling that she jumped ship to be the CEO of a for profit charter school operator, Civitas, which has been at best mixed in terms of helping the public school system. See how Betsy DeVos, Trump's Sec of Ed, feels about charters: http://chicago.suntimes.com/opinion/editorial-devos-sides-with-for-profit-schools-against-students/

Robert Zeh  

Posted: July 13th, 2017 2:18 PM

Perhaps the conflict was between a principal who wants public schools to be agents of social change --- someone supporting "any school leader who is a change agent, social justice warrior and movement starter." vs parents who think schools are for education, not movement starting.

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