End-of-Year Message from Superintendent Ushma Shah

Superintendent Ushma Shah

District 97 Superintendent Ushma Shah

Dear District 97 Community, 

My first days as superintendent have been both full and fulfilling. I’ve had a chance to greet families as our 8th grade students graduate to high school, meet with a team of Oak Park public agency partners, review a major curriculum adoption, and to begin to listen to and learn with the people who are the heart of our district. 

The Common Good
As of Tuesday afternoon, I have had the opportunity to visit all 10 of our schools. Walking through Irving with Principal Hodge as he prepares to retire later this month was one highlight of many during these visits. In addition to the welcoming office staff and colleagues encountered in the hallways, I met:

  • Parents who were setting-up for a student celebration outside of the school and who talked about how they felt authentically valued at Irving;
  • Teachers who described the deep sense of professional community they feel with each other as colleagues; and 
  • Students who had very specific questions, and follow-up questions, about exactly what it is that I do.

Exchanges at the school set a high bar for the kind of joy that should be experienced in every school, every day for every stakeholder who has an investment in the holistic wellness and the academic readiness of our students. Thank you and best wishes to Principal Hodge – don’t worry, District 97, I’m already trying to recruit him back. ;)

Design for Equity
I am grateful to be joining the community at this precise time – when there is so much opportunity to celebrate our strengths, to reflect on the challenges we've faced and to work collaboratively to reimagine how we teach, learn and lead together in District 97. 

What an honor for all of us—students, families, staff and community members – to bring together our different perspectives to do what few districts in our country have done and what has been outlined in our D97 Racial and Educational Equity Policy. I look forward to the learning journey that we will travel together. 

Lead with Curiosity
I’ll be attending community events and gatherings this summer. If you would like to suggest good places for me to meet members of the Oak Park community, let me know by completing this brief form. We will also be planning opportunities to formally connect once we reconvene in August. Watch for details later this summer.  

One way or another, I’m looking forward to meeting you soon. Until then, I wish you all a safe and happy launch into the summer season!

Here’s to a great future,  

Ushma