Anthony Papini, executive director of Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, will step down from his post in order to take a new job in his native Washington State, he said April 6.
Panini told Windy City Times that the new job, as part of educational initiative at Microsoft, was "unexpected" and that he will be leaving Chicago within a few weeks.
"It's an ambitious timeline, and the board has an optimistic transition plan," Papini said. "I love the Alliance and I love the work, and I feel I am leaving them in a good place. Every person on the staff is engaged, from Chicago to Springfield and Peoriaand communities all over the statein really important work for our schools."
Panini replaced the Alliance's previous executive director, Shannon Sullivan, in 2014. Before going to the Alliance, he was founding director of the LGBTQA Center at Northeastern Illinois University.
Board Vice-Chair and co-founder Mary Morten said the Alliance will immediately begin a "targeted" search for a replacement that she anticipated would take about 8-12 weeks. Activist Gaylon Alcarez, will serve as interim executive director in the meantime.
"We are are sorry to see Anthony go," Morten said. "He was doing a great job for us. But we understand that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in his hometown."
She added, "But we're moving forwardthis is the natural progression of non-profit organizations. I just want people to know that the Alliance will continue to do great work. They had a great day in Springfield yesterday, and they were able to get hundreds of witness slips [concerning recent transgender-related legislation] signed, for example. So I'm very excited about the future."