Rumors are swirling about the future of Principal Carol Baker at George Washington Middle School in Lyons.
At the March 22 meeting of the Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 Board of Education, teachers union President Toni Jackman made a three-minute public comment imploring the school board not to remove Baker from her position.
At the same meeting, the school board voted 4-0, without any discussion, to eliminate the position of assistant superintendent, which Baker also holds. After the meeting District 103 Superintendent Kristopher Rivera said the board’s action does not affect Baker’s position as principal.
“Just the assistant superintendent position,” Rivera said when asked if Baker was being removed from her job. “It’s hard to do that additional duty with running a building as well.”
But Jackman, who teachers seventh-grade science at GWMS, is convinced that Baker will not be back after two years as principal of the middle school which serves the southeast quarter of Brookfield.
“Dr. Baker is a supportive and intelligent leader, and the leader frankly without whom the middle school and, in fact, the district would have floundered during the pandemic year,” Jackman told the school board. “We as a school have suffered from a revolving door of principals and assistant principals in the 22 years we’ve been a middle school.”
Tina Marie Flickinger, an instructional coach at GWMS, said after the meeting that constant changes in principals at GWMS has a negative impact on students.
“It’s like getting a new mom every year,” said Flickinger. “How do kids that have an unstable home life deal with an unstable school.”
Neither Baker nor Rivera responded to messages in the days after the meeting asking whether Baker would be back at GWMS next year. Baker’s contract expires at the end of the current academic year, but no administrators have had their contracts renewed yet.
Baker, who served as the superintendent of District 103 from 2016 to 2018, was hired to be the principal at GWMS in 2020. During her nearly two years as principal, Baker has kept a low profile, almost never appearing at school board meetings.
She was initially hired as superintendent in 2016 by a school board that included current board President Jorge Torres and was controlled by members elected with the support of Lyons Village President Christopher Getty. All seven current school board members have Getty’s support.
Baker left District 103 in 2018 during a time when school board members not elected with Getty’s support held the board majority. Baker, whose background is in high school science instruction, left to take a job as assistant superintendent for academics at Hinsdale High School District 86.
But after Baker backed a controversial change in the science sequence in District 86, the school board there voted not to renew her contract in 2020. That summer she was hired in a 4-3 vote to replace Don Jones, who had left for another school district after a two-year stint, as principal at GWMS.