Days after Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School (LMSA) students walked out of their classrooms in protest of the abrupt firing of Karen Fitzpatrick Carpenter from her assistant principal position, the Chicago Board of Education postponed its vote on a recommendation to give a four-year contract to the school’s new interim principal Abdul Muhammad. 

In a Aug. 24 letter to Lindblom parents, students and staff from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief Schools Officer Felicia Sanders, she explained that CPS’ chief executive officer asked the Board to postpone taking action over concerns about Muhammad’s transition into his interim principal role.

On Monday, Aug. 22, more than 100 Lindblom students walked out of the first day of classes, expressing their frustration and hurt due to what they felt was an abrupt termination. They also collected signatures for a paper petition in support of Carpenter.

“The CEO has chosen this course of action because of recent information regarding Mr. Muhammad’s transition. This has raised concerns for the CEO and he would like to take additional time to evaluate the recommendation,” the letter reads. “The CEO, with the assistance of the Network Office, will make a full assessment and hopes to resolve these concerns over the next several months.”

Muhammad took on the interim principal position at Lindblom in July 2022. Shortly afterwards, he fired Carpenter, who is affectionately called “Mama Eagle” by the Lindblom community.

In an interview with The TRiiBE on Aug. 18, Carpenter shared that she was surprised and heartbroken by the termination. She’s been an educator, counselor and administrator with CPS for more than 25 years. She graduated from Lindblom in 1985, and has served as high-school counselor for 18 years and as assistant principal for seven years.

“I felt I did as best I could to keep the nest in the tree. No one fell out. No one got lost. No wings were clipped. We made it through from beginning to end on a successful note,” Carpenter said. “I did my best, and I’m proud of that.”


In response to numerous questions from parents, alums and students about why he fired Carpenter, Muhammad said the following during a virtual Appointed Local School Council (ALSC) meeting on Aug. 15:

“When a principal is brought on to a school, that principal has the opportunity to bring his or her own administrative team to move the school forward. When I came to Lindblom, I made the decision to bring in my own administrative team, Mrs. Debra Kearney and Mrs. Adrienne Morales,” Muhammad said.

Earlier this morning, Lindblom’s ALSC voted to recommend the Chicago Board of Education offer Muhammad a four-year principal contract. The Board’s monthly meeting to consider this recommendation was scheduled for Aug. 24.

An Aug. 24 letter to Lindblom parents, students and staff from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief Schools Officer Felicia Sanders, obtained by The TRiiBE.

In Sanders’ letter, she wrote that Muhammad will continue to lead the school as interim principal until CPS’ chief executive officer brings that recommendation to the Board at a future date.

“We hope to work cooperatively over the next several months to bring this to a position resolution, and we thank you for your patience as we continue to work to provide students and staff with the best possible educational experience at Lindblom,” Sanders wrote at the conclusion of the letter. 

is the editor-in-chief of The TRiiBE and a 2023-2024 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.
is a multimedia reporter for The TRiiBE.