During a special meeting on Monday, June 29, the District 97 Board of Education approved the appointment of Jeremy Christian as the new principal for Julian Middle School. Christian will be replacing Todd Fitzgerald, who announced in May that he was resigning to accept the superintendent position in Komarek School District 94 in North Riverside. His tenure at Julian will begin on July 1, 2020.
Christian comes to Oak Park with seven years of administrative experience, including four years as an assistant principal in Naperville Community Unit School District 203 and—most recently—two years as the principal of Richland Junior High School in Crest Hill. He also served two years as a dean of students at Proviso East High School in Maywood, six years as a teacher and dean at Bolingbrook High School, and four years as a teacher and dean at Walther Lutheran High School in Melrose Park.
Some of Christian’s successes as a school administrator include:
- Partnering with parents in Naperville to create the “SUCCESS” program (School Using Coordinated Community Efforts to Strengthen Schools), which focuses on enhancing learning outcomes and sense of belonging for African-American students and their families;
- Creating a family outreach program called “Parent and Administrator Conversations” (PAC) to ensure parent voice and develop partnerships for student success;
- Creating a “Bridging the Gap” program to help middle school students with their transition to high school;
- Reducing student discipline referrals at his current school by 33%.
Christian has a bachelor’s degree in English from Elmhurst College, a master’s degree in secondary education from Concordia University Chicago, and a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Benedictine University.
District 97 Superintendent Carol Kelley congratulated Christian on his appointment, citing his significant experience with social-emotional learning, special education, professional learning communities (PLCs) and social justice as being among the many reasons he was selected for the position.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jeremy to Oak Park,” Kelley said. “He is an engaging and accomplished educator with a proven track record for fostering the growth and success of all students. I believe his experience, leadership and passion for learning will be a tremendous asset for Julian and the entire District 97 community as we work to advance our vision and promote greater equity and inclusion in our schools.”
Christian said he is excited to be joining District 97 and begin collaborating with stakeholders.
“I look forward to meeting our students, partnering with our families and ensuring that Julian Middle School is beyond successful within all of our efforts,” Christian said. “As principal, I will work tirelessly to ensure our students are safe, diverse thinkers, and future leaders of their communities.”
Principal Search Process
Dr. Kelley expressed her gratitude to the parents/guardians, staff members and students who were involved in the principal search for Julian. These groups participated in surveys and virtual Q-and-A sessions that helped the district develop a principal profile, which was used to screen a diverse and talented pool of more than 100 applicants.
Christian was chosen after a rigorous recruitment process that included:
- Applicant screening interviews;
- Second-round interviews with parent and staff representatives;
- Third-round interviews with district-level administrators, staff representatives and a small group of students;
- A final interview with Dr. Kelley.
“I want to thank the parents and staff members who were instrumental in selecting the next principal of Julian Middle School, as well as the students who provided valuable feedback through our survey and candidate interviews,” Kelley said.