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Lorraine M. Sullivan

Died: Thursday, October 03, 2013
Lorraine M. Sullivan, 96, a former assistant superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools and an innovator in and lifelong advocate of early childhood education, died Oct. 3, 2013, in Lake Forest, Ill.

Lorraine began her career as an elementary school teacher at O.T. Bright School in Chicago in 1939, having received her bachelorís degree and masterís degrees in arts and biology from DePaul University. She later served as principal of Crane and Bowen high schools in Chicago and was an instructor at Chicago State College and a professor at DePaul University. In 1957, Lorraine received her Ph.D in education from Harvard University, becoming one of the first women to receive a doctorate degree from that institution. Her dissertation involved a study of the curricula of elementary schools in Lawrence, Mass. Her work at Harvard translated into a career focused on developing a climate for community participation in public schools. Among Dr. Sullivanís chief accomplishments was the development of the Chicago Child-Parent Centers.

In 1966, the general superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools asked Dr. Sullivan, then superintendent of District 8, to report on ways to improve student attendance and achievement in her district. District 8 was located in the North Lawndale community and had one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the city. Her report emphasized four elements for building academic success: parent involvement in the early years of school, instructional approaches tailored to childrenís learning styles and to developing their speaking and listening skills, small class sizes and individual attention and attention to health and nutrition. These principles were implemented through four Child-Parent Education Centers in May 1967. Today, the CPC program operates in 24 centers throughout the Chicago Public Schools. The centers provide services in preschool and kindergarten; 13 centers implement the program in first to third grade. In addition to her work with the Chicago Public Schools, Dr. Sullivan authored and edited several textbooks for Scott Foresman Publishing Company and served on the board of directors of the Sears Roebuck Foundation and the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

She retired from CPS in the early 1970s and moved to Fontana and served for 10 years as principal of St. Francis de Sales elementary school in Lake Geneva.

Following her second retirement, she moved to Lake Forest Place in Lake Forest, where she served as president of the Residentsí Council. Throughout her life, Lorraine was a world traveler and a patron of the arts.

Lorraine is survived by four nieces and nephews; and eight grand-nieces and -nephews. She was preceded in death by her brother, Raphael P. Sullivan, former Principal of Westinghouse High School in Chicago.

A Mass of Christian burial will be at Sheil Catholic Center, 2110 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, IL, Nov. 2, at 9 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to St. Francis de Sales Parish School, Lake Geneva, are appreciated.

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