District 97 Interim Superintendents for 2021-22:
Dr. Griff Powell and Dr. Patricia Wernet
During its regular meeting on April 27, 2021, the Oak Park Elementary School District 97 Board of Education approved the appointment of Griff Powell and Patricia Wernet as co-interim superintendents for the 2021-22 school year.
Powell and Wernet are both retired educators with decades of experience as permanent and interim superintendents. They recently worked together during the 2016-17 school year as co-interim superintendents in Glenview School District 34.
Powell comes to District 97 with more than 40 years of experience as an educational leader. He served as superintendent in five districts during his career: Grayslake Community High School District 127, Highwood-Highland Park School District 111, Ramapo Central School District in New York, West Chicago High School District 94 and Niles Township High School District 219. Since retiring, he has served as an interim superintendent for 10 districts, including Berwyn District 100, Rich Township District 227, Lyons Elementary District 103, Riverside District 96, Glenview District 34, West Harvey-Dixmoor District 147 and Country Club Hills District 160. He is currently the interim superintendent in DeKalb Community School District 428.
In addition, Powell has worked for several Illinois universities as a senior lecturer, instructor and clinical assistant professor. He holds a doctorate in educational administration from Northern Illinois University and lives in Morton Grove.
Wernet comes to Oak Park with more than 25 years of experience, including four years as the superintendent of Berwyn School District 100 and four years as the superintendent of Lisle Community Unit School District 202. She has served as an interim superintendent in four districts: Frankfort School District 157-C, Lombard School District 44, Glenview School District 34, and—most recently—Berwyn School District 98.
Prior to becoming a superintendent, Wernet held several leadership positions in Palos Community Consolidated School District 118 and was a teacher in Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Aurora University, and resides in Lemont.