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Welcome, Ms. Shalema Francois-Blue

Dear Rice Community,

I am pleased to announce Ms. Shalema Francois-Blue as the new Principal of Rice Children’s Center! She was unanimously approved by the School Board, and we look forward to welcoming her back to the District 65 community! She will officially begin in her new role on August 1, 2022, and will work closely with Assistant Principal Scurlock and district leaders in preparing for the new school year.

In our search, our team used the feedback and perspective collected from the Rice community from the past year’s most recent search for a new school leader. With a solid background and extensive knowledge of special education, Ms. Francois-Blue was a stand-out candidate. She is deeply committed to our Evanston/Skokie community and is a student-centered leader. She is courageous and bold in her vision for excellence and understands the need for collaboration among staff, students, families, and the community in achieving the goals set forth. She also has a proven track record for navigating change management which I believe is an essential skill given the transition the Rice community has experienced over the past couple of years. 

Ms. Francois-Blue is a veteran educator and administrator and is extremely familiar with our community, having served as a Special Services Supervisor in District 65 for five years. Most recently, she served as the Executive Director of Special Education for Oak Park River Forest High School, which includes daily oversight of implementing special education services for diverse learners. Prior to this role, she served as the Director of Special Education for North Chicago CUSD 187 and held several other leadership roles focused on special education services. Ms. Francois-Blue has also served as an elementary classroom educator and adjunct professor for Minnesota State University. She earned a Master's Degree in Special Education from Minnesota State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a Minor in Youth Studies from the University of Minnesota.

I hope you will join me in welcoming Ms. Francois-Blue back to the Rice community and back to District 65! Please stay tuned for a welcome message and an opportunity to connect. 

Warm regards,

Dr. Devon Horton (he/him)
Superintendent