LANSING | Judith Whalen, the principal at Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing, has given notice of her intention to retire from a 30-plus year career as an educator after the 2015-16 academic year.
Whalen had submitted her notice to the School Board, which early Wednesday voted 7-0 to accept it. She will be retired officially as of June 30, 2016.
School Board President Richard Dust, himself a retired social studies teacher at T.F. South, said officials will not begin a search for a new principal until summer 2015. That process could consist of School Board members interviewing principal candidates as they did in summer 2009. They eventually narrowed the search to four finalists before hiring Dean Auriemma, who served one school year before taking a similar position in Maine.
When Auriemma left, Whalen — who had been one of the four finalists — was named interim principal, then hired officially in February 2011 as principal.
Before getting the top post, Whalen had been with T.F. South for seven years in various posts, including assistant principal for instruction. She has been an educator for 31 years, starting as a teacher of science for nine years, then working her way up through various administrative posts.
At the time she was hired for the principal’s post, Whalen said she liked the racial and ethnic diversity of District 215 students, and said she saw it as a “challenge” to address issues with district-wide test scores.