D97 Board to Hire Interim Superintendent for 2021-22 School Year

Dear District 97 Community,

As you know, Dr. Carol Kelley recently announced that she will be leaving Oak Park at the end of June to serve as superintendent of Princeton Public Schools in New Jersey. We are grateful for her six years of leadership and service to our community and wish her the absolute best.

Since this development, the District 97 Board of Education has been working on a succession strategy and members have spoken with a number of people with expertise in superintendent hiring. We are committed to working with all of the district's stakeholders—students, teachers, administration, and community members—to craft a robust search for our next permanent superintendent that is community-engaged; that reflects our values, priorities and needs, including our centering of equity; and that will lead us to an excellent, effective leader for our district.

With these goals in mind, it has become clear that the best path forward for District 97 is to hire an interim superintendent for the 2021-22 school year. While we are eager to find the next permanent superintendent, trying to hire someone for the upcoming school year would have required a rushed process and it is likely that the strongest available candidates would have already been selected by other school districts. We believe that appointing an interim superintendent will provide stability to the district while allowing the board to design and conduct a more thorough search during the upcoming school year

The board plans to discuss the interim position during a special meeting Thursday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. We will be joined by Patricia Sullivan-Viniard from the Illinois Association of School Board’s Executive Search Team during the first half of the meeting, which will be held in open session. Dr. Sullivan-Viniard will lead a discussion on the interim superintendent search process before the board moves to closed session to discuss specific potential candidates.

We hope that you'll be able to join us on Thursday evening. For those who cannot attend, a recording will be posted at https://www.op97.org/boe/virtual-meeting-recordings within 24 hours of the meeting.

Sincerely,

District 97 Board of Education