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updated: 1/5/2011 5:15 PM

Prairie Crossing parents fight to keep principal

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  • Prairie Crossing Charter School Principal Brian Greene takes students to lunch and pie at Baker Square Restaurant in Libertyville as part of an initiative to reward students for good behavior in 2008.

      Prairie Crossing Charter School Principal Brian Greene takes students to lunch and pie at Baker Square Restaurant in Libertyville as part of an initiative to reward students for good behavior in 2008.
    GILBERT R. BOUCHER II/Daily Herald file photo

  • Prairie Crossing Charter School board President Geoff Deigan listens to parents Tuesday night at a board meeting where they spoke on behalf of Principal Brian Greene, whose job may be in jeopardy.

       Prairie Crossing Charter School board President Geoff Deigan listens to parents Tuesday night at a board meeting where they spoke on behalf of Principal Brian Greene, whose job may be in jeopardy.
    Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

  • Jake Pardus, left, and Henry Pardus are Prairie Crossing Charter School students in Grayslake supporting Principal Brian Greene, whose future is in doubt.

       Jake Pardus, left, and Henry Pardus are Prairie Crossing Charter School students in Grayslake supporting Principal Brian Greene, whose future is in doubt.
    Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

 
 

Several parents have stepped up in support of Prairie Crossing Charter School Principal Brian Greene, whose future there is unsettled as board members review employees with expiring contracts.

About 20 parents who are concerned Greene may not be retained after his contract expires June 30 told school board members at a meeting Tuesday he's created stability and has enticed children to become more engaged in classes.

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The parents also said Greene has improved communication with parents and teachers at the small public choice school in Grayslake within the boundaries of the Woodland and Fremont elementary districts.

Parent Cindy Hooten, who has had children at Prairie Crossing for eight years, said significant strides have been made under Greene's leadership.

"So, Mr. Greene is the right guy for the job," Hooten said. "I see nothing but him being for the school, which is what we need."

Greene came to Prairie Crossing from Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School in Chicago in the 2008-09 academic year. He became Prairie Crossing's fourth principal in two years when he replaced Margaret Pennington, who quit.

Board President Geoff Deigan said officials are reviewing all expiring contracts because of potential problems with state funding. He said Greene requested the early review process and an expedited decision in December.

"What we're doing is looking at all of our (personnel) infrastructure instead of reacting at the eleventh hour in March, April or May. We're trying to get in front of it now," Deign said.

He said a determination on Greene isn't expected soon.

Greene said he'd rather know sooner than later if he'll be back at Prairie Crossing for the 2011-12 academic year, because he'll have to start looking for other education jobs. He said he does not want to leave.

"They'll literally have to pull the keys out of my hand for me to leave here," Greene said outside the meeting room after the parents complimented his work as principal.

Officials said they intend to move in another direction at the charter school, but specifics have not been made public. Greene said he wants to stay at the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school no matter what changes occur.

Deigan said Greene's job performance or complaints are not at issue. Greene agreed.

"I definitely want to go on record and say this board has not come to me and said (I have) done anything wrong," he said.

With a 392-student enrollment capacity, Prairie Crossing is an environmentally focused school. Parents of children at Woodland Elementary District 50 and Fremont Elementary District 79 may send their children to Prairie Crossing, which determines enrollment by lottery.

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