Bronzeville resident named new principal of Dyett High School

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Dyett hunger strikers assembled at City Hall earlier this month. File Photo. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

A new principal has been named to launch a reconstituted Dyett High School, which is set to reopen next fall following a hunger strike by parents and other public pressure.

Chicago Public Schools officials tapped Beulah McLoyd, a product of Bronzeville on the Near South Side, who has headed Clark Magnet High School in Austin on the city’s West Side since 2010.

She previously was an assistant principal at Gage Park High School.

“As a Bronzeville resident, CPS parent and high school principal, I understand the need for a high-quality neighborhood option at Dyett, and I am fully committed to ensuring this school is the world-class success that the community deserves,” McLoyd said in written statement.

Seven people applied for the job. Chicago schools chief Forrest Claypool made the final decision, according to CPS. McLoyd did not return an email seeking comment.

CPS officials praised McLoyd’s handling of an investigation by the school system’s inspector general into a fraudulent purchasing scheme at Clark in which her password was misused. McLoyd was given a warning resolution, but the inspector general concluded that she didn’t commit any intentional wrongdoing. Two employees were charged and have since pleaded guilty.

Dyett was supposed to close permanently in June after graduating just 13 seniors, but a group calling itself the Coalition to Save Dyett pressured CPS into reopening it. When CPS postponed its decision in August to choose from three proposals formally solicited as school models, some Coalition to Save Dyettmembers launched a hunger strike that lasted 34 days.

Earlier this month, CPS nixed all three ideas and announced it would open Dyett as an arts-focused open enrollment school, though it hasn’t released many details of its plan.

Jitu Brown, a coalition organizer, called McLoyd “an excellent educator,” but he said he was “disappointed and dismayed that the people who saved that school are the ones that are excluded.”

The coalition wasn’t consulted on the selection of a principal, he said, adding, “We will continue to push to make sure our voices are heard.”

Local School Council elections won’t be held at the new school for at least three years.

CPS will begin accepting applications to Dyett on Oct. 1. All students living in the school boundaries will be guaranteed space, and children citywide can apply for remaining spots.

The district plans to hold a hearing on those boundaries Friday night, from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., at its headquarters, 42 W. Madison St. Registration for speakers, who will have two minutes each to speak, begins at 5 p.m.

The proposed boundaries for the school are the same as the old ones: from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and 41st Street east to Lake Michigan; south along the lake to 47th Street; west to Cottage Grove Avenue; south to 60th Street; west to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

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