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Grant principal leaves after three controversial years

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Grant High School Principal Vivian Orlen is leaving after three years to return to her native New York.Vivian Orlen, the popular and often controversial principal at Grant High School, is stepping down after three years to return to her native New York.

The Grant Magazine, the school's student publication, broke the story in its Friday issue ( www.grantmagazine.com ).

Orlen's surprise announcement to staff on Thursday came as a shock, according to the magazine.

She's made several changes at Grant during her tenure that some groups of parents opposed. She's also been widely respected for making tough decisions in an environment of shrinking resources.

Orlen did not immediately return a request for comment from the Tribune on Friday.

The magazine's Emily Volpert quotes Orlen hinting that school district politics may have factored into her decision: “My greatest struggle initially was working in a school that clearly served some kids very well but that it wasn’t serving all kids well,” Orlen said in Thursday’s interview. “If we truly want to be a school of excellence, then you have to make sure you’re serving all kids.”