Honestly, we like to see the emotion, the passion that was on display in late December as Joylynn Pruitt-Adams was named the permanent superintendent of Oak Park and River Forest High School.
Tears were shed by some school board members and by Pruitt-Adams as well as explanations offered as to why the interim superintendent was deemed right for this school and why the new superintendent felt OPRF to be such a match for her. Audience members attending the school board meeting also stood and cheered the choice.
This is not typical in a setting more often ruled by protocol and a steady professionalism. But where exactly have such polite approaches gotten us? We are a divided district, divided over a damned swimming pool. And while we mouth platitudes about educational equity for our diverse array of students, we've done little to actively, inventively, determinedly move the needle.
It is time for this district to take the vast resources its taxpayers have allowed it — or actually had taken from them via taxing subterfuge — and throw it all at this intractable issue of the achievement gap. Not that we believe the primary answers to this challenge are financial. The path to success is through our hearts, our beliefs, our values.
It is not right that Oak Park and River Forest, of all places, have spent decades pussy-footing around this challenge. These towns are national leaders on matters of race, diversity and equity. It is long past time that our high school led and showed results on this complex and fascinating issue.
We welcome Dr. Pruitt-Adams to this full-time post. We look forward to her listening and her leadership on academic and discipline equity, on financial restraint, on innovative teaching, on technology and, yes, on the pool. We want to see her rallying this school and this community to the energy and the possibility of growing to our potential.