Meet the Board
Gavin Kearney: President
Gavin Kearney was first elected to the District 97 Board of Education on April 2, 2019, and was re-elected on April 4, 2023. His current term on the board will expire in 2027.
Kearney is a deputy managing attorney in the Clean Energy Program at Earthjustice, a nonprofit public interest environmental law organization that works in partnership with communities to protect people's health, preserve magnificent places and wildlife, advance clean energy, and combat climate change. Throughout his career, Kearney has worked hand-in-hand with community partners and coalitions to fight for healthy, sustainable environments and to address environmental racism.
Kearney earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy from Lawrence University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota. He and his family moved to Oak Park in 2015. His wife Tasha is an educator and administrator at National Louis University. As of 2023, his daughter Lorraine is a first-year student at Oak Park and River Forest High School and a graduate of Irving Elementary School and Julian Middle School. His son Declan is a sixth-grade student at Julian Middle School and also a graduate of Irving Elementary School.
Nancy Ross Dribin: Vice President
Nancy Ross Dribin was elected to the District 97 Board of Education on April 6, 2021. Her term on the board will expire in 2025.
Ross Dribin has nearly three decades of experience in education research and resource development with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM). Her career has included classroom research and resource development with the EDC Center for Children and Technology and practical implementation and leadership at Shedd Aquarium, the Chicago History Museum, and Adler Planetarium, where she served as the Director of Interactive Media. She has conducted observations and completed data collection in schools and school districts across the country.
As Director of Interactive Media at Adler Planetarium, Ross Dribin oversaw all new media projects, including distance learning programs, technology camps, the Adler Night and Day podcast, Adler Teens, exhibition multimedia interactive development, and the redesign of the Adler website. Most recently, Ross Dribin worked as a senior research analyst conducting user experience research and synthesis with a number of large nonprofit companies. She is currently staying at home to help her children with school as needed during the pandemic and work on writing projects.
In addition to her work, Ross Dribin has spent significant time volunteering with District 97. She and her husband, Dave, have two children at Beye Elementary School. At Beye, Ross Dribin served as a room lead, vice president of technology for the PTO, stage hand for the talent show, and tutor with BeyePASS. Two years ago, she joined the district-wide iLearn technology committee. Additionally, she volunteered with OPEF to assist with fifth-grade robots instruction in schools across the District.
Ross Dribin holds a bachelor's degree in architecture from Wellesley College and a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
Colleen Burns: Board Member
Colleen Burns was elected to a two-year term on the District 97 Board of Education on April 4, 2023. Her term will expire in 2025.
Burns serves as the chief of staff for the Division of Developmental Disabilities at the Illinois Department of Human Services, overseeing an effective statewide system of person-centered supports and services to individuals with developmental disabilities. She has a long career in public service, most recently leading the work of the Illinois Commission to End Hunger, bringing together the public and private sectors to develop recommendations for ending hunger in Illinois. Prior to this, she helped create the Governor’s Office of Health Innovation and Transformation under the Quinn administration, where she served as policy director supporting the development and design of the state’s health policy agenda. She also served as the special counsel for health policy to the Illinois Department of Insurance and the Governor’s Office, where she was responsible for the state’s efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act including establishing a Health Insurance Marketplace.
In addition to recently completing a four-year term on the Board of Trustees for the Oak Park Public Library, Burns has served on the Village of Oak Park Disability Access Commission and the Board of the Beye Elementary School PTO. She has four children—three at Beye and one joining them in the fall.
Email: [email protected]
Jung Kim: Board Member
Jung Kim was first elected to the District 97 Board of Education on April 2, 2019, and was re-elected on April 4, 2023. Her current term on the board will expire in 2027.
Kim began her career in education in 2000 when she was an English teacher and the co-chair of her department at Manley Career Academy High School in Chicago. From there, Kim went on to hold the positions of academic skills instructor, co-instructor/advisor and literacy coach at the K-12 level. She has also had an extensive and successful career teaching at the collegiate level, including in her current role as an associate professor of literacy at Lewis University, and is a published author and regular guest speaker and presenter on issues such as literacy, culture and race.
Kim earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her master’s degree in reading, writing and literacy and Ph.D. in curriculum studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been or is currently a member of several professional organizations, including the American Educational Research Association, the Association for Asian American Studies, the Illinois Reading Council, the International Reading Association, the Literacy Research Association, the National Council of Teachers of English and the Will County Reading Council. She has also been active in the District 97 community via the district’s Diversity Committee and Lincoln Elementary School’s Parent-Teacher Organization.
Kim is married, has two children at Lincoln and is an ultramarathoner.
Venus Hurd Johnson: Board Member
Venus Hurd Johnson was elected to the District 97 Board of Education on April 6, 2021. Her term on the board will expire in 2025.
Hurd Johnson is an account executive for Vitas Healthcare, with a focus on end-of-life care. She has more than 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical and healthcare sales and helped to bring novel medicines to market in diabetes and cardiovascular medicine. She is a proud alumna of Howard University, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration-marketing.
Prior to joining the school board, Hurd Johnson was actively involved in District 97 schools as a parent leader for eight years, holding co-president roles in the Mann PTO, PTO Diversity Council and PTO Council. She has lived in Oak Park for the past 15 years with her husband Oscar and two sons, who currently attend Julian Middle School and Oak Park River Forest High School. She enjoys travel, crafting and tennis.
Cheree Moore: Board Member
Cheree Moore was first elected to the District 97 Board of Education on April 2, 2019, and was re-elected on April 4, 2023. Her current term on the board will expire in 2027.
Moore currently serves as the People Operations Manager at the Inclusive Economy Lab at the University of Chicago. The Inclusive Economy Lab partners with policymakers, community-based organizations and others to generate rigorous evidence that leads to greater economic opportunity for communities harmed by disinvestment and segregation. She previously served as a talent acquisition manager for Destiny Dental in Oak Park, the assistant director of engagement for the University of Illinois at Chicago, the associate director of development for Chicago Kent College of Law and a development associate for DePaul University.
Moore's professional background, coupled with her desire to aid and assist underrepresented communities, have led her to volunteer with organizations such as Heartland Alliance, Junior Achievements and Step Up Women's Network. She has also served as a commissioner for the Village of Oak Park's Community Relations Commission, and taken part in several local projects that are focused on strengthening equity and inclusion throughout the community.
Moore is a proud alumna of Clark Atlanta University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in political science. She also has a master's degree in public administration from DePaul University.
Moore and her husband Koye have three children who attend Hatch Elementary School.
Holly Spurlock: Board Member
Holly Spurlock was first elected to the District 97 Board on April 7, 2015. She was elected to a second term on April 2, 2019, and a third on April 4, 2023. Her current term will expire in 2027.
Spurlock is currently a director in the Strategic Claims Unit for CNA Insurance. Prior to joining CNA, Spurlock was the vice president of Risk Management and Legal Affairs for Vivid Seats. She also served as the head of global risk operations at Groupon, where she led a 150-person team that was responsible for financial, legal, public relations and risk mitigation in 48 countries, as well as for driving data-driven process change across all departments. Spurlock was a practicing attorney for 11 years before shifting to risk management.
As an attorney, Spurlock had the opportunity to work on a variety of education-related pro bono projects, including representing a local organization focused on replicating the Harlem Children's Promise Zone, supporting kids and their families from cradle to college, and working closely with business leaders who joined together for the C.A.R.E. initiative against violence in the city of Chicago.
Spurlock has a bachelor’s degree in Humanities from the University of Texas at Austin, an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University. She, her husband and her two children, who attend District 97 schools, moved to Oak Park in September 2012.
Lonya Boose: Board Secretary
Lonya Boose was hired by District 97 in December 2004. She is currently the director to the superintendent's office and serves as the board secretary.
Prior to her tenure with the district, Boose worked as an accounts payable supervisor for Dean Foods. She has a bachelor's degree in educational leadership from DePaul University.