D97 Board of Ed Appoints New Lincoln Principal; Accepts Campbell's Resignation as Head of HR

During its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12, the members of the District 97 Board of Education voted on a pair of key administrative personnel items. The first item was the appointment of Laura Zaniolo as the principal of Abraham Lincoln Elementary School. Zaniolo will be replacing interim principal Theresa Silva, and will begin her tenure at Lincoln on July 1, 2019. The second item was the acceptance of Laurie Campbell’s resignation. Campbell, who is the district’s assistant superintendent for human resources, plans to retire in August following a 33-year career in education. 

Prior to joining District 97, Zaniolo, who grew up in Oak Park and attended school at Lincoln, was the assistant principal at Portage Park Elementary School in Chicago for two years. She was also a resident principal at Moos Elementary School and Marquette Elementary School in Chicago for a year, an instructional coach for the Academy of Urban School Leadership for two years and a teacher (middle school science and math, fourth grade and first grade) for eight years. 
Zaniolo has a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts in teaching degree from Columbia College Chicago. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in urban education leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

Zaniolo, who currently resides in Chicago, said that she is excited about returning to the school that had such a profound and lasting impact on her as a student. 

“Lincoln Elementary has had a special place in my heart for many years,” said Zaniolo. “As a former Lincoln Lion, I have long been impressed with this school’s values and accomplishments—from its positive ‘Up at Lincoln’ motto, to its Spanish immersion program, to its commitment to inclusion and educating the whole child. I am honored to be joining a community that has such a strong history and spirit, and am looking forward to working alongside a dedicated group of faculty, staff and families to help ensure that every Lincoln student receives an educational experience that is filled with warmth, joy, intellectual curiosity and rigor.” 

Superintendent Carol Kelley congratulated Zaniolo on her appointment, and cited “her strong instructional background, student-centered approach to learning, and extensive knowledge of Lincoln, our district and Oak Park” as being among the reasons she was selected for the position. 

“Laura is an accomplished educator who comes to us with a breadth of experiences and a genuine love for Lincoln and this community,” said Kelley. “I believe these qualities and characteristics will help foster the continued success of the school, our staff and our students.”

Dr. Kelley expressed her appreciation to Silva for her work this year. 

“I want to thank Theresa for everything she did at Lincoln in her role as the interim principal," said Kelley. "She was a consummate professional who helped lead several critical initiatives at the building, including the current expansion project. I wish her all the best in her next endeavor.” 

Dr. Kelley also thanked the parents/guardians and staff members who were involved in the search to find the new principal for Lincoln. Both groups provided the district with feedback about the qualities and characteristics they felt applicants should possess, and had representatives on the school site team that interviewed candidates for the position. Their efforts throughout the process contributed to the selection of Zaniolo, who received a one-year contract with a base salary of $117,490.

As Zaniolo prepares to start her career in District 97, Campbell, who joined the district in 2016, is getting ready to putting the finishing touches on a journey that began as a special education aide and a classroom teacher in the mid 1980s. 

“I have truly enjoyed my three years here in District 97, and cannot think of a more fitting or ideal place to complete this important phase of my life,” said Campbell. “Oak Park’s commitment to education, passion for learning and tireless advocacy on behalf of all students are what I have strived to uphold throughout my career. It has been an honor and privilege to work alongside so many incredible people in this community, and in the districts in Glen Ellyn, Schaumburg, Hinsdale, Wilmette and Darien that I was blessed to serve in before I arrived here.”

While Campbell has not ruled out the possibility of staying involved in education in some capacity in the future, her immediate plans for retirement include “spending lots of quality time with family and friends, and taking a long-awaited dream vacation to Africa.”

Dr. Kelley congratulated Campbell on her well-deserved retirement, and applauded her for all that she accomplished during her long and distinguished career. 

“I want to recognize and commend Laurie not only for her important contributions to our district, but also for her dedicated and selfless service on behalf of children during the past 33 years,” said Kelley. “In her time here in Oak Park, she has helped increase the diversity of our workforce, strengthened our practices for recruitment, hiring and student registration, led the successful negotiation of several collective bargaining agreements with our employee groups, and implemented programs that have supported the growth and development of our faculty and staff. She has been an important and incredibly valuable member of our team, and will be missed.”

Dr. Kelley said that the search for Campbell’s replacement will begin immediately. She also said that the district will continue to work toward the selection of the leader for the teaching and learning department, which is a position that became available in January after Dr. Amy Warke resigned to become the superintendent for LaGrange Highlands School District 106.