Percy Julian gets new principal

Jeremy Christian to replace Todd Fitzgerald effective July 1

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

Percy Julian Middle School in Oak Park has a new principal. During a special meeting on June 29, the District 97 school board approved the appointment of Jeremy Christian to replace Todd Fitzgerald, who resigned to take a superintendent position in Komarek School District 97 in North Riverside, D97 officials announced.

Christian's tenure will start July 1. Before coming to Oak Park, he was an assistant principal for four years at Naperville Community Unity School District 203. He most recently served as principal of Richland Junior High School in Crest Hill, D97 officials stated.

Before those tenures, Christian worked for two years as a dean of students at Proviso East High School in Maywood, six years as a teacher and dean at Bolingbrook High School and four years as a teacher and dean at Walther Christian Academy in Melrose Park, D97 officials stated.

Christian has a bachelor's degree in English from Elmhurst College, a master's degree in secondary education from Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, and a master's degree in educational leadership and administration from Benedictine University in Lisle.

In their statement, D97 officials referenced Christian's experience with creating programs that address racial equity.

In Naperville, for instance, he worked with parents to create the SUCCESS Program (School Using Coordinated Community Efforts to Strengthen Schools), "while focusing on enhancing learning outcomes and sense of belonging for African American students and their families," officials said.

In a statement, D97 Supt. Carol Kelley welcomed Christian to D97, describing the administrator as an "engaging and accomplished educator with a proven track record for fostering growth and success of all students."

Kelley said she believes Christian's "experience, leadership and passion for learning will be a tremendous asset for Julian and the entire District 97 community as we work to advance our vision and promote greater equity and inclusion in our schools."

In the district's statement, Christian said that he looks "forward to meeting our students, partnering with our families and ensuring that Julian Middle School is beyond successful within all of our efforts," Christian said. "As principal, I will work tirelessly to ensure our students are safe, diverse thinkers, and future leaders of their communities."

Christian was hired as part of a principal search process that included parents/guardians, staff members and students.

"I want to thank the parents and staff members who were instrumental in selecting the next principal of Julian Middle School, as well as the students who provided valuable feedback through our survey and candidate interviews," Kelley said.


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Mary O'Malley Petranek  

Posted: July 6th, 2020 4:37 PM

I'm sure Mr. Christian is a fine man. During my decades long career in #97 I came to know dozens of staff that were well qualified and eager to serve the district in an administrative capacity. It boggles the mind that those most loyal to the district aren't given the recognition, respect and reward of an administrative post and instead are passed over for someone with a history of district hopping. Is it any wonder that staff morale is rumored to be so low?

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