As we open 2023 and prepare the district for the future, Superintendent Ushma Shah and the Board of Education of Oak Park Elementary School District 97 are pleased to announce Dr. Margo Schmitt as the district’s next director of human resources, effective Jan. 11. Schmitt replaces two retired administrators, Cathie Pezanoski and Dr. Tim Kilrea, who have served as co-interim senior directors of human resources for the past 18 months.
“Our District 97 students’ success is directly impacted by the way we recruit, onboard, support, coach and retain top talent, Superintendent Shah said. “I’m excited to continue to build a leadership team that will deliver on the district’s equity imperative as outlined in Board of Education Policy 7:12 Ensuring Racial and Educational Equity.”
The board of education approved Schmitt’s appointment during its regular meeting on Jan. 10. Pezanoski’s last day was Dec. 21, and Kilrea will finish his tenure with District 97 at the end of January.
Schmitt comes to District 97 with 20 years of experience in public education, most recently serving as director of human resources in Mannheim School District 83. Schmitt began her career in Cicero, Ill., where she was a founding classroom teacher at Unity Junior High, then the largest junior high school in the nation. She went on to become an administrator in Proviso Township High School District 209, and since then has gained experience in a number of administrative roles.
From serving as director of grants, professional development, multi-tiered systems of support and social emotional learning in Barrington School District 220 to serving as the director for education and evaluation at the Robert Crown Center for Health Education, Schmitt has worked to advance equitable access and outcomes for students in public schools across the region. Schmitt has overseen the work of talent acquisition and development, implementing new teacher and administrator training programs, facilitating performance management and evaluation, and providing dynamic, high-quality professional development and support.
“I am proud to join the passionate, hard-working team of educators and educational support staff in Oak Park Elementary School District 97.” Schmitt said. “As a long-time friend of the District 97 community, I look forward to building on the tradition of educational excellence and commitment to equity that have come to define Oak Park schools.”
Schmitt holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Western Illinois University
and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Roosevelt University. She also holds a bachelor’s degree with majors in Business, French and Asian Studies and minors in International Business, Human Resources/Management and Chinese from Augustana College.
“Dr. Schmitt is an accomplished leader with a portfolio of instructional and operational experiences that will benefit the work of our district,” Shah said. “As we welcome Dr. Schmitt, I would also like to thank Cathie Pezanoski and Tim Kilrea for the ways that they have supported District 97 during the many pandemic transitions that the district has experienced,” Shah added. “Both Cathie and Tim’s contributions are appreciated by me, by members of the team who have served alongside them over the past 18 months, and by the district community.”