By Bob Skolnik
Many parents at Lincoln School in Brookfield are upset that the school's principal, Theresa Silva, won't be back next year. Silva, who is in her first year as principal, submitted her letter of resignation in March shortly before the school board was going to vote whether to renew her contract.
Two school board members have said that they would not have voted to renew her contract, and it appears as if Silva's contract would not have been renewed had it come to a vote.
But, in a matter of days parents obtained 40 signatures on a letter asking Silva to rescind her letter of resignation. At the April 23 meeting of the Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 Board of Education, Brookfield resident Erin Milankovic, the mother of two Lincoln School students, submitted a copy of the parents' letter to Silva to the school board, asking board members to try to keep Silva at Lincoln School.
"She's a great principal," Milankovic said. "We don't want her to leave."
Three other parents on April 23 also spoke in support of Silva, saying that she has changed the atmosphere at Lincoln for the better. In March, when Silva's resignation, effective at the end of the school year, was announced, a number of Lincoln School teachers also spoke up in passionate support.
The parents said it did not appear to them that Silva wants to leave Lincoln School.
Gina Bacci, the mother of a Lincoln fifth-grader and the treasurer of the Lincoln School PTA, agrees.
"I don't have any proof of it, but I feel like she didn't feel like her contract would get renewed, so instead of being let go she resigned," Bacci told the Landmark. "I feel like given the opportunity to stay, she would have stayed."
Bacci says that in meetings with the PTA, Silva talks wistfully of things she would have done at Lincoln next year if she were returning. She said that Silva does not have another job lined up.
"You can just tell that she's not happy that she's not going to be there," Bacci said. "I'm sure it was not what she wanted to do."
Bacci and Lincoln School teachers say that Silva is a principal who is always out and about in the school, visiting classes and interacting with students and teachers.
"She's never in her office; she's always out doing something in a classroom," Bacci said.
Parents and teachers say that Silva is personable and has created a warm, harmonious atmosphere at Lincoln. They say that she treats parents, teachers, and students with respect and that no task is too small for her.
"She's very welcoming to families and parents," Bacci said. "The morale inside the school is totally different than it has been for years. The teachers are happy."
Despite the entreaties of parents and teachers, it appears that the school board has no intention of asking Silva to stay on.
School board President Marge Hubacek said that while she understands the wishes of the parents supporting Silva, there is nothing that can be done.
"She resigned," said Hubacek, who along with board member Joanne Schaeffer told the Landmark that they would not have voted to renew Silva's contract. "There is really nothing that we can do."
Hubacek said that while she is always willing to talk to parents and had a conversation recently with a parent who wants Silva to stay, there is little she can say about the situation.
"There are personnel issues and just performance things that you just don't talk about in public; they're personnel matters," Hubacek said.
The letter from parents apparently will have no impact on the board.
"I accepted it, but there's nothing we're going to do about it," Hubacek said.
The school board has not met with Silva and has had no direct conversations with her, Hubacek said.
While she did not specifically address the parent's letter or comment on her resignation, Silva in an email to the Landmark thanked parents and teachers for their support in response to questions from the newspaper.
"I truly appreciate and am humbled by the outpouring of support from the staff and community," Silva wrote. "I love Lincoln School -- the staff, the parents and all of the children. We have had an excellent year together."