U46 hires interim chief of equity and social justice
By Emily McFarlan Miller email@example.com September 13, 2012 5:40PM
Updated: October 15, 2012 9:56AM
ELGIN — School District U46 has hired an interim chief of equity and social justice, the district confirmed Thursday.
Ron Raglin joins the state’s second-largest school district in the controversial role from Chicago Public Schools, according to an email to administrators Thursday from U46 Chief of Staff Tony Sanders. He had served as the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) college readiness director there since 2008.
Raglin fills that position for Ushma Shah, who became assistant superintendent for elementary schools and equity in the game of musical chairs that followed the sudden departure this summer of Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools Greg Walker.
“In terms of getting schools open and ready by Aug. 22, the assistant superintendent of elementary schools was critical in the summer,” Sanders said.
Barbara Johnson already had been hired to fill the assistant superintendent for elementary education role left open by the planned retirement of Carmen Rodriguez, but her background was much stronger in secondary education, according to the chief of staff. And Shah has a strong background in elementary education, he added.
So Johnson started instead in the secondary role, while Shah moved into Walker’s.
At that time, “equity” was added to both assistant superintendents’ titles to “continue the focus on equity as one of the driving forces in the school district,” according to Sanders.
“Equity is not just an issue for that one position of chief of equity and social justice. It’s actually everybody’s role, but especially the assistant superintendents who are working directly day in and day out with our schools,” he said.
The chief of equity and social justice position was created last school year to help close the achievement gaps between white and mostly Hispanic and black students, one of the goals of U46’s five-year accountability plan, Destination 2015. Shah also had come to the Elgin district then from Chicago Public Schools.
It immediately generated controversy. Most recently, two of the three area residents who spoke Monday at a public hearing on the district’s 2012-13 budget called again for its six-figure salary to be eliminated.
Sanders said there is “no specific timeline” to fill that role permanently, but rather Raglin will hold it “until the board has an opportunity to determine if he should fill it on a permanent basis.”
Previously, Raglin had served as special assistant to the chief executive officer under Arne Duncan, now U.S. secretary of education, according to the email.
He started his career in education in 1984 as a teacher at Dos Palos Unified Elementary School District in California, then the AVID Coordinator and teacher in Merced, Calif., it said. He holds a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Chicago State University, and a bachelor’s degree elementary education from Sterling College in Sterling, Kan.