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Article updated: 12/7/2011 6:57 PM

Prairie Crossing principal decision possible next week

Brian Greene

Brian Greene

 
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Prairie Crossing Charter School board members next week may decide the future of the principal who remains on paid administrative leave for reasons that haven't been made public.

Brian Greene says he didn't do anything illegal or unethical before he was placed on leave last week. He declined to identify the issue after making a statement about his status at a Prairie Crossing board meeting Tuesday in Grayslake.

"My biggest concern is these parents know that nothing was illegal, their kids were never in jeopardy," Greene said.

In a letter to parents issued last week, 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."

Board members emerged from a closed-door session late Tuesday to announce Greene, 41, will be on paid leave for at least another week. The board plans to resume discussion on Greene, and may decide whether he stays or goes at a meeting Dec. 13.

Prairie Crossing board President Steve Achtemeier said officials have been following legal advice in being vague about why Greene was placed on paid leave.

"We're protecting everybody by not saying anything," Achtemeier said after many in a crowd of roughly 50 spectators at Tuesday's meeting voiced frustration about not having any level of detail about the matter.

School officials stated in the letter that having Greene on leave was "in the best interest of the children, the teachers, the school and the charter."

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

Meanwhile, some parents questioned why the letter from Prairie Crossing officials stated a "unanimous decision" to place Greene on leave was made, and implied the school board voted on the matter.

Whittington said he recommended the action against Greene, and board members concurred in a closed-door session the evening of Nov. 29. No public vote was taken on Greene.

"If I misspoke, I misspoke," Whittington told the crowd.

Greene said Whittington gave him a letter about the decision when he arrived at the school early in the morning Nov. 29.

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.

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

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