Photo by Joe Boyle
Members of Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124 welcome Michelle Reed (fifth from left), who was voted in as the new principal at Central Middle School. The board approved Reed during the July 18 meeting.
By Joe Boyle
Members of Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124 Board in Evergreen Park diffused a controversy they have been embroiled in this summer by approving Michelle Reed as the new principal of Central Middle School.
Reed’s appointment at the last District 124 meeting on July 18 comes on the heels of the board having to rescind the contract that was offered to Dr. Matt Ericksen. The board rescinded the contract to Ericksen at a jam-packed meeting on June 13 when questions arose through a series of anonymous emails sent to board members about his alleged poor treatment of staff as an administrator in the North Shore School District 112 in Highland Park.
His contract was rescinded after a three-hour executive session in which board members met with Ericksen to discus the complaints. This came after many teachers voiced their disapproval during a question-and-answer period in which they wondered why the board was not able to detect that there were some red flags in regards to Ericksen. Teachers and parents spoke during the meeting and wondered why the board, who initially introduced Ericksen with rave reviews, were not able to check on his background more thoroughly.
Dr. Robert Machak, the superintendent of District 124, said when Ericksen’s contract was rescinded it was time to move on and look for a replacement.
This was not lost on Machak at the July 18 session after Reed was unanimously selected near the end of the meeting.
“I want to thank Michelle Reed for accepting the position,” Machak said. “I think you are going to be a really good fit for the district. I want to thank you and all the teachers and the parents who provided input during this process. We really went over this and I don’t think we left a stone unturned.”
As for Reed, she can’t wait to get to work. Reed had originally applied for the position and was pleased when the board contacted her.
“It was a very tedious process,” Reed said “I went on four interviews and we went over a lot of information. But I felt very good about the process. I really like what I see of this school district.
“I am very excited to be here,” Reed added.
Reed becomes the principal at Central Middle School, 9400 S. Sawyer Ave., after serving as the assistant principal at Brooks Middle School in Oak Park since 2013. Before arriving at Brooks Middle School, she previously held administrative positions in Skokie and Evanston.
She earned her master’s degrees in elementary education and educational leadership from DePaul University, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Tennessee State University. The new principal has also collaborated with researchers from John Hopkins and Northwestern universities to examine racial and ethnic disparities in public education.
Reed will officially begin her tenure as the Central Middle School principal on Monday, July 30.
“I just can’t wait to get started,” Reed said.
To provide their appreciation, board members provided a shopping bag of gifts for Reed.
While the meeting took on a celebratory mood, Kimberly Leonard, the board president, mentioned near the end of the session that Julie Egan has turned in her resignation. Egan will be moving out of the district.
“It’s really been an honor to serve,” Egan said. “The families and the students in this district have been great. Evergreen Park is a great place to live.”
Leonard said the position will be posted beginning this week. Egan was also a longtime AERO board member for the district and an opening will now exist for that role.