Claypool ducks accountability as the CPS 'Chief Executive Officer' has subordinate order that Troy LaRaviere be removed as principal of Blaine Elementary School... CPS official Liz Kirby broke the news in a message to staff... Special meeting Monday evening at Blaine...

Troy LaRaviere in front of Blaine Elementary School.The current executive administration of Chicago's public schools has abruptly removed the city's most outspoken principal from his LSC approved position -- and tried to do it during the week that school is not in session and without making the move officially that of "Chief Executive Officer" Forrest Claypool. Chicago's most courageously outspoken principal, Blaine Elementary Principal Troy LaRaviere, was removed as principal of the school by order of CPS officials during the Spring vacation of 2016. But instead of receiving notice of the unprecedented action from the top executive at CPS, Blaine teachers and staff, as well as parents and community, got word from a subordinate of Forrest Claypool, a relatively unknown bureaucrat named Elizabeth Kirby.

According to an April 20, 2016 message from Liz Kirby to Blaine staff and teachers, LaRaviere was removed because of "confidential personnel reasons."

LaRaviere has yet to comment.

Kirby was appointed by Claypool to the newly created position of "Chief of Strategic Planning" by Claypool during the past year. Previously, she had been the controversial principal of Kenwood High School and then the equally controversial "Chief Officer" of one of the city's public school "Networks." CPS officials did not publicly state why LaRaviere was removed from the school by Kirby during a week while school was not in session and a week before the school board is scheduled to meet (the next meeting of the Board of Education is April 27, 2016). The message from Kirby to Blaine "teachers and staff" from CPS officials follows here:


April 20, 2016

James G. Blaine Elementary School Teachers and Staff, 1420 West Grace Street Chicago, IL 60613

Dear Blaine Teachers and Staff:

I would like to inform you of the change in leadership at the school. Mr. Troy LaRaviere has been reassigned from his principal duties at James G. Blaine Elementary School effective at the end of the day on April 20, 2016. The reassignment of Mr. LaRaviere is a confidential personnel matter that cannot be publicly discussed in detail. District Leadership has appointed Mr. Pedro Alonso to serve as the Interim Principal during Mr. LaRaviere's reassignment.

Mr. Alonso has had successful school leadership experience as Principal at Von Steuben High School from 2006 to 2014 as an Assistant Principal at Roosevelt High School from 2003 to 2006 and as an Interim Principal at Rogers and Kilmer Elementary Schools. We are confident that Mr. Alonso has the leadership experience to ensure that Blaine continues to be a high-achieving school, and that the teachers and students are supported.

I would like to invite you to a meeting at Blaine Elementary School on Monday, April 25th at 7:45 a.m. to discuss the school leadership change and transition plans.

Blaine Elementary School will continue to be a strong school community with your support. Our students' best interests will be the central focus of decisions made at the school level.

Apparently, the latest "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools, Forrest Claypool (above during the January 27, 2016 meeting of the Board of Education) is trying to stay out of focus on the removal of Troy LaRaviere from Blaine Elementary School. Instead of taking the action himself, the CEO, appointed in July 2015 by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, had his relatively unknown "Chief Officer for Strategic Planning," Liz Kirby, inform Blaine that LaRaviere was gone. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I can be reached at 773-553-3075.


Elizabeth Kirby Chief of Schools Strategy and Planning


Troy LaRaviere, Outspoken CPS Principal, Ousted And Told To Stay Home

By Ariel Cheung, April 20, 2016 10:09pm, Updated April 20, 2016 11:02pm, DNA Info News Chicago.

PHOTO...Blaine Elementary Principal Troy LaRaviere decried a CPS budget Blaine Elementary Principal Troy LaRaviere decried a CPS budget "that turns a full school day into an empty school day."

LAKEVIEW — Controversial Principal Troy LaRaviere, an outspoken critic of Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, has been ousted as head of Blaine Elementary School in a sudden change that left some parents shocked.

Parents were notified late Wednesday of the abrupt change in leadership in an email from Elizabeth Kirby, chief of schools strategy and planning for Chicago Public Schools.

Wednesday was LaRaviere's last day at Blaine, and he was "reassigned from his principal duties," Kirby wrote. The letter did not say what position — if any — LaRaviere would now have within the district. He will continue to receive pay for now, the district said.

LaRaviere did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The district is accusing LaRaviere of "acts of misconduct, including violations of a previous warning resolution passed by the Board of Education," spokeswoman Emily Bittner said. "A hearing will be held to determine his employment status."

The next step is a pre-suspension hearing "to determine whether there is a sufficient basis to suspend Principal LaRaviere without pay," although that move would need approval from the Illinois State Board of Education.

A source familiar with the situation said LaRaviere was not given a new position within CPS, but told to stay home in the interim.

Blaine's Local School Council learned of the change just 30 minutes before parents were notified, the source said. District representatives will meet with teachers Monday morning ahead of the parent meeting.

The school will host a meeting at 6 p.m. Monday to discuss the change.

In August, the Chicago Board of Education issued a formal warning to LaRaviere, railing against him for "insubordination" tied to his support of PTA efforts against standardized spring testing and retorts during a July 13 budget meeting.

The district told LaRaviere that he could be dismissed should he continue to speak out against the district. The principal has been a staunch critic of CPS and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, blasting the district for "reckless fiscal operational and educational mismanagement" even after the warning.

LaRaviere also served as an adviser to Jesus "Chuy" Garcia in his unsuccessful attempt to unseat Emanuel in last year's mayoral election.

Immediately following the formal warning, LaRaviere said he refused to "turn a blind eye" to the district's handling of matters.

"I love the work I do. I certainly would like to keep doing it, but that will not be at the expense of lowering my head to incompetence and injustice," LaRaviere said at the time. Since then, he has continued to blog about CPS matters and speak publicly against the district:

"Our teachers have been battered by this administration's attacks and forced to live with the blatant hypocrisy behind the calls for teacher financial sacrifices while the district continues to engage in wasteful spending, reckless borrowing and their steadfast commitment to steering CPS dollars to banks and investors that profit from our schools' losses," he wrote in a March 25 post.

The district assigned Pedro Alonso to serve as interim principal. He has previously served as an interim principal at Rogers and Kilmer elementary schools.

Alonso was principal of Von Steuben High School from 2006 to 2014 and assistant principal at Roosevelt High School for three years before that.

"Our students' best interests will be the central focus of decisions made at the school level," Kirby wrote.

LaRaviere's reassignment stunned some parents, who posted reactions on a closed Facebook group for parents of Blaine students. Multiple parents said they felt blind-sided by the late-night news. "I literally gasped when I read it," wrote one.

It's unclear whether LaRaviere will still be eligible to run for president of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association. Nominated in late February, LaRaviere said he hoped to find a way to continue working at Blaine if elected in May.