Taft to begin principal search

The Taft High School Local School Council may soon start a search for a new principal following the resignation of Mary Kay Cappitelli, who had been on medical leave as the school’s principal since last fall.

In an April 11 letter to the LSC, Cappitelli wrote, "It has been a difficult time for me as I deliberated this decision. My contract does not end until June 30, 2016, and I am unsure of my health challenges and my ability to perform the demanding duties of the principalship over the long term.

"Continuity of leadership is paramount to the success of Taft and the Wall-to-Wall IB (international baccalaureate) Programme. Therefore, I must step down and clear the way for the appointment of the next principal."

Cappitelli said in an interview last week that Taft has a bright future, as evidenced by the fact that it just missed receiving the Chicago Public Schools’ highest performance ranking, "Level 1," and that initiatives such as the school’s literacy support team are helping to improve student achievement. "I think the school is heading in the right direction," she said.

Cappitelli was an assistant principal at Taft for 5 years before becoming the school’s principal in 2012. Before arriving at Taft, she was an assistant principal at Amundsen High School, where she worked under former principal Pauline Tarvardian, who is married to former Taft principal Arthur Tarvardian.

In November the Chicago Board of Education appointed Carolyn Rownd, a former teacher at Northside Prep High School, to serve as Taft’s acting principal. Rownd is on loan from Jones Prep High School, where she was serving as an assistant principal, until June 30.
Rownd said after the April 1 LSC meeting that she has enjoyed her time at Taft and that she would consider staying at the school if the opportunity arose.

The council can choose to conduct a search for a principal and award a 4-year contract to the candidate who is selected. If the council cannot agree on a candidate and refuses to award a contract, the school board would appoint an interim principal for up to 1 year.

The LSC was scheduled to discuss the principal’s position at a special meeting on Tuesday evening, April 22.