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updated: 7/1/2014 12:04 PM

District 15 reassigns Whiteley principal

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Editor's note: The headline has been updated to reflect that the principal was reassigned.

The Palatine Township Elementary District 15 school board on Monday reassigned longtime Whiteley Elementary School Principal Mary Szuch to a regular teaching position for the next school year.

The move, approved unanimously by the board in a special session, was not made at Szuch's request, Superintendent Scott Thompson said. The reason behind the board's decision was not directly discussed during the brief meeting.

"I'm not at liberty to talk about personnel decisions," Thompson said when asked about the board's action.

According to Thompson, school board President Peggy Babcock instructed school board members not to speak to the press about the decision, so the board could speak with one voice on the issue. Thompson said Babcock asked him to speak on her behalf.

Board member Manjula Sriram, who attended via phone, said she approved the move to reassign Szuch, but requested that the move be monitored "to make sure that our children are safe." Sriram later said that she was referring to the safety of district school children in general and not specifically about Szuch being reassigned to teach at district schools.

Szuch began the school year as principal at Whiteley, a position she's been in since at least 2007. She was reassigned in the fall to "administrator on special assignment at the district," a position Thompson said was created for her. Before serving as principal at the Hoffman Estates school, Szuch worked as principal of Lake Louise Elementary in Palatine.

Earlier Monday, Thompson was at Whiteley announcing that Robert Harris would become the school's new principal. Harris had been serving as interim principal since January.

Szuch did not respond to an email request for an interview and could not be reached by phone for comment.

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