Suburban Lyons School District rescinds assistant principal job offer

By Kevin Beese Staff Reporter

Lyons School District 103 Board President Jorge Torres (center) looks back at Superintendent Kristopher Rivera during discussions Sept. 10 about the assistant principal position at George Washington Middle School. (Kevin Beese/Chronicle Media photo)

The rescinding of a job offer in a near west suburban school district has launched a board battle of finger-pointing and name-calling.

Lyons School District 103 seemed to have a new assistant principal lined up for its middle school. With her background check taking longer than expected, she was not able to be on board at the start of the school year, but Socorro Mendoza still showed up during registration to meet parents and students at George Washington Middle School.

However, she received a telephone call from the district’s human resources director Sept. 9, hours after being approved for the job, retracting the job offer.

“How was this decision made?” Mendoza asked at the School District’s Sept. 10 meeting. “I received a voice mail message that the offer was retracted. I am wondering what’s going on.”

“I’d like to know too,” School Board member Shannon Johnson said. “We need two vice principals at the Middle School.”

There is currently only one assistant principal at the school of 750 students.

School Board President Jorge Torres said he expects the second assistant principal’s position at George Washington Middle School to be filled shortly, but that the position needs to be examined before anyone is put in that post.

“We have a lot of high-paying positions,” Torres said. “Everything is getting looked at.”

Board member Marge Hubacek argued that Torres had no right to make such a decision, that any decision about a position or hiring a person for it needs to be made by the School Board.

“Who OK’d not hiring the assistant principal when it did not come before the School Board?”
Hubacek asked.

Hubacek, who had been board president prior to Torres, said another administrator is needed at the Middle School.

“The school has 750 students. We need two assistant principals there,” Hubacek said. “If anything, we should be adding administrators (at the Middle School), not cutting them.”

Things became heated between Torres and Hubacek as discussion of the Middle School administrator’s position continued.

“You don’t have the authority to do that,” Hubacek told Torres regarding him opting to not fill the GWMS position at this time with Hubacek calling the board president a dictator and Torres saying the former board president is simply unhappy because she is not running the School Board anymore.

“You only want to hear yourself talk,” Torres told Hubacek.

Backpedaling from the issue after the meeting, Torres said he did not know what caused the job offer to be pulled off the table.

“I have no idea why the offer was taken back,” Torres said.

Torres did say, however, that positions in the district will be examined before being included in the budget.

Board member Sharon Anderson ripped Torres for what appeared to be his decision not to hire Mendoza for the George Washington administrative position.

“That’s a board decision,” Anderson said.

Johnson said from a safety standpoint it is imperative that the Middle School have two assistant principals.

“For the safety of the kids, we need to make sure we have two assistant principals at the Middle School,” Johnson said.

She said students in sixth, seventh and eight grade are learning about their own self-worth and need positive role models, such as Mendoza.

Johnson pointed to the two suicides at the Middle School last year as proof of the need for a strong and engaged administration at the school.

Board member Olivia Quintero, who has a daughter at the Middle School and was part of the ticket led by Torres in the last election, said she was not aware that the assistant principal’s position at the Middle School has not been filled.

Mendoza said she still doesn’t know why the job offer was rescinded.

“I did not hear anything. I have no idea why I wasn’t hired,” Mendoza said.