Making MyD97 Better Award: Dr. Theresa Chapple-McGruder

Making MyD97 Better Award: Dr. Theresa Chapple-McGruder

District 97’s "Making MyD97 Better" Award recognizes staff, students, parents and community members who are making our schools a better place for all. The district will choose a winner each month, and share their stories through our newsletters, website and social media pages.

We are thrilled to announce our "Making MyD97 Better" winner for November: Dr. Theresa Chapple-McGruder, Director of Public Health for the Village of Oak Park.

An epidemiologist and public health professional, Dr. Chapple-McGruder has been a steadfast advocate for the health and well-being of all District students, families and staff over the past seven months. Since arriving in Oak Park, she has collaborated with District 97 administration and staff on a daily basis to develop and update COVID-19 safety guidelines, respond to emergent cases, and deliver critical information to the community.

Last month, Dr. Chapple-McGruder and the Oak Park Department of Public Health quickly and successfully implemented vaccine clinics for children ages 5 to 11 in all eight District 97 elementary schools. Thanks to their tireless efforts, nearly 2,300 students were able to participate in the clinics and will be fully vaccinated before winter break.

“We are very grateful for the support and guidance provided by Dr. Chapple-McGruder as we worked together to provide safe learning environments for our students and staff,” said Interim Superintendents Dr. Griff Powell and Dr. Patricia Wernet. “Her work to help District 97 navigate the ongoing pandemic has made a positive, lasting impact on our community.”

Dr. Chapple-McGruder was nominated for the Making MyD97 Better Award by Irving parent Meghan Paulas, who cited her contributions to keeping schools safe and her efforts to provide vaccination opportunities in Oak Park.

“We are so fortunate and grateful for [Dr. Chapple’s] commitment to our community and our kids' future,” Paulas said.

Check out the video we made for Dr. Chapple-McGruder by clicking the box below or by visiting

Do you know someone—a teacher, staff member, parent, student or community member—who is helping to make D97 a better place for all? Share their story and nominate them for a "Making MyD97 Better" Award!