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Article updated: 12/1/2011 7:10 PM

Grayslake charter school principal placed on leave

By Bob Susnjara

Prairie Crossing Charter School Principal Brian Greene has been placed on paid administrative leave, but officials are not publicly disclosing the reason.

Board members at the small, public choice school for kindergarten through eighth grade in Grayslake took the action against Greene at a meeting Tuesday night.

In a letter to parents issued Wednesday, Executive Director Nigel Whittington and the board said the reason for placing Greene on leave cannot be made public "due to the sensitive nature of personnel issues, labor laws and to protect Brian's privacy."

Prairie Crossing board President Steve Achtemeier declined to answer questions about Greene beyond saying he's on paid administrative leave. Greene couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

Greene was the subject of concern by some parents and students last January when they believed his job was in danger because he had yet to receive a contract for the 2011-12 academic year at the time. Greene eventually received a new deal.

About 20 parents packed a meeting room to say Greene improved communications with the school and boosted student performance.

Greene came to Prairie Crossing from Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School in Chicago in the 2008-09 academic year. He previously headed Hawthorn Elementary North in Vernon Hills.

Prairie Crossing officials stated in the letter to parents that while the timing of placing Greene on administrative leave is "poor," efforts have been made to ensure a smooth operation in the principal's office.

"We realize that many parents and children have a relationship with Brian and may feel dismayed by this decision," the Prairie Crossing officials said. "It is important to understand that the administration and the board have to make decisions in the best interest of the children, the teachers, the school and the charter. This unanimous decision was difficult to make but considered necessary."

Spanish teacher Ray Martinez has been named to cover principal duties and to provide administrative support for Whittington.

Prairie Crossing spokeswoman Dil Dybas confirmed Martinez served as Buffalo Grove High School's associate principal before retiring and joining the charter school in 2007.

In January, when the parents perceived his job as being in jeopardy, Greene told the Daily Herald that Prairie Crossing officials would "literally have to pull the keys out of my hand for me to leave here."

Prairie Crossing is an environmentally focused school with a 392-student capacity. 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.

Illinois' per-pupil financial aid follows Woodland and Fremont children who attend Prairie Crossing.

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