OPRF shakes up administration lineup

New CFO, HR director and COO in D200personnel realignment

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By Michael Romain

Staff Reporter

Oak Park and River Forest High School has undergone a series of adjustments at the administrative level that could dramatically affect how the district's bureaucracy functions over the long term. 

In April, the district hired a new HR director. This month, the school board unanimously approved the creation of a chief operating officer role that will be filled by an existing employee. And next month, Tod Altenburg, the district's chief school business official, will leave for another position in Lombard. District officials are currently looking for his replacement. 

At a special meeting on April 17, the school board unanimously approved the hiring of Roxana Sanders to replace Brenda Horton as director of human resources, effective July 1. Horton had been out on a leave of absence earlier this year. Gayle Wahlin served as interim director during that period. 

Sanders, whom district officials said has 11 years of experience in HR, will get paid an annual salary of $160,000. She's currently enrolled in a doctoral program in educational leadership at Aurora University and holds a master's degree in education in school business management from Northern Illinois University, district officials said. 

Altenburg, who was hired in 2013 from Lombard elementary school District 44, where he'll return, had been receiving a salary of $177,336. The board approved his resignation, effective June 29, during a special board meeting on May 15. Altenburg's position is currently posted on OPRF's website and is expected to close on June 1. 

According to D200 Supt. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams, the COO position is not a new full-time position — no additional funds will be used to pay for the role, which will be filled by an existing employee. District officials confirmed on Monday that the COO position has not been posted since it isn't a new hire. 

The superintendent added that the creation of the COO position is "in anticipation of the realignment of district administrative roles and responsibilities as well as bringing in line with similar organizational structures at other school districts and organizations in the private sector." 

The COO will be responsible for "all aspects of administration, planning, directing, and supervising" the district's operations, she stated, before noting that the "operations under direct supervision" of the COO include human resources, safety and support, buildings and grounds, and educational technology.

CONTACT: michael@oakpark.com    

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Kevin Peppard  

Posted: May 29th, 2018 2:44 PM

The real organizational news at OPRF is that Pruitt-Adams remains lacking a Superintendent Endorsement/Certification from the State Board. She applied for a license on June 17, 2016, and for a Superintendent's Endorsement on June 24, 2016, close to two years ago, yet the State Board's website still lists her credentials as "deficient". How much longer will she be allowed to function provisionally? See http://webprod.isbe.net/ELISInquiry/NormalPages/Educators.asp and type "joylynn" for first name and then Search. She is listed under "Pruitt", NOT "Pruitt-Adams" Then type "View" to see her status. Every single teacher in that building is certified to Illinois standards, but the Superintendent is not. What a potential morale problem. The public learned about this problem last December, and was assured it would be fixed, but that has not happened.

Jenna Brown Russell  

Posted: May 29th, 2018 11:05 AM

In the 70s, OPRF had 4,200 students and one Principal/Superintendent. We now need Superintendent, a Principal and a COO for a one building School District with 3,500 students? That's a lot of Chiefs. And while it may not mean more expense, I believe many would prefer our economic resources be invested in the front line educators and student support services.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: May 29th, 2018 8:57 AM

Are these positions being made to move teachers who cant or wont teach up and away from the teachers on the line?

Nick Polido  

Posted: May 29th, 2018 8:07 AM

COO Definition: The chief operating officer (COO) is tasked with the day-to-day administration and operation of the business. Typically, the COO reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and is considered second in command. In some corporations, the COO is also known as the Executive Vice President of Operations. Supt. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams definition: "operations under direct supervision" of the COO include human resources, safety and support, buildings and grounds, and educational technology. Sounds to me this is a Imagine group made up position, since it has nothing to do with what a COO does by definition.....Who is this existing employee??? Does the board vote on the existing employee....?

Barbara Joan  

Posted: May 28th, 2018 7:11 PM

Educational -Industrial Complex! $$$

Kevin Peppard from Oak Park  

Posted: May 23rd, 2018 6:03 PM

The fact that Altenburg tendered his pending resignation on May 15, and the closing date to file to replace him is June 1 tells me that they already have a preferred replacement. He is going back to his previous position. Hmmm.

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