During its regularly scheduled meeting April 12, the members of the District 97 Board of Education approved the appointment of two school administrators for the 2022-23 school year:
- Cheryl Sullivan will serve as the principal of Beye Elementary School. She has been serving as the school’s interim principal since the start of the 2021-22 school year.
- Susan Mura will be the principal of Irving Elementary School. She will be replacing Principal John Hodge, who is retiring in June after more than 31 years of service in District 97 and 18 years at Irving.
Sullivan and Mura will officially assume their roles on July 1. Their biographies and statements from the district are included below.
Cheryl Sullivan - Principal of Beye Elementary School
Cheryl Sullivan has been a dedicated educator and leader in District 97 for 18 years. Prior to taking on the role of interim principal of Beye, she served one year as the assistant principal for Longfellow Elementary School and was an interim principal and student support specialist at Mann Elementary School. She began her career in the classroom, spending nearly 20 years as an elementary teacher and reading specialist before moving to building leadership. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Iowa, a master’s degree in reading from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Concordia University.
“On behalf of District 97, I want to congratulate Cheryl on her appointment,” said Dr. Felicia Starks Turner, associate superintendent of education. “She has done an exemplary job as an interim principal this past year, providing much-needed stability to her school during the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. We believe that her experience, leadership and tireless dedication will help Beye continue to grow in years to come.”
Sullivan, a longtime resident of Oak Park, said she is excited for the opportunity to serve as a principal in District 97 and to continue her service to the Beye community.
“I am beyond thrilled to have been selected as the principal of Beye,” Sullivan said. “It has been an honor serving with Sheila Carter as an interim principal this year and building relationships with the students, staff and community. I am really looking forward to building on Beye's many strengths and working to advance the educational experience for all students.”
Susan Mura - Principal of Irving Elementary School
Susan Mura has been the assistant principal of Irving since 2018. In addition to her administrative responsibilities, she has focused on maintaining a positive school culture by consistently implementing school policies, strengthening teaching practices, developing a school wide behavior response system, and ensuring the safety of staff and students.
Mura was previously a social worker at Hatch Elementary School for two years and Whittier Elementary School for seven years. Prior to joining District 97, she served four years as a social worker for a therapeutic day school in Des Plaines.
“In her work as an assistant principal, school social worker and district leader, Susan has continuously demonstrated her commitment to creating positive and inclusive learning environments for all students,” said Dr. Eboney Lofton, chief academic and accountability officer. “She has done an exceptional job at Irving over the past four years, and we are confident that the school will continue to thrive under her leadership.”
Mura has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and social welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Concordia University.
“I am honored and humbled to have been selected as the principal of Irving school,” Mura said. “Over the last four years, I have had the privilege of working alongside Principal Hodge and have learned firsthand what a special place Irving is. I look forward to continuing to work with our staff and families to support the growth and achievement of all students.”
Principal Search Process
Sullivan and Mura were chosen after recruitment process that included:
- Community surveys and virtual town halls, which helped the district develop principal profiles;
- Applicant screenings conducted by Human Resources;
- Interviews with teams of parents, staff members, and District 97 principals and administrators;
- Final interviews with Dr. Ushma Shah (incoming District 97 superintendent), Dr. Felicia Starks Turner (Associate Superintendent of Education), and Dr. Eboney Lofton (Chief Academic and Accountability Officer).
“We are deeply grateful to all the parents and staff members who were involved in our principal searches over the past several months—from those who helped us build our candidate profiles to the individuals who spent many hours serving on our interview teams,” Starks Turner said. “Their participation and feedback were instrumental in selecting two exceptional administrators to lead Beye and Irving elementary schools.”