D97 hires curriculum directors

CPS principal, nonprofit administrator tapped for posts

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Terry Dean

Staff Reporter

Oak Park elementary school District 97 has hired a Chicago Public Schools principal and an administrator with a Chicago educational nonprofit as its new curriculum directors.

The District 97 Board of Education is set, Aug. 12, to officially approve Helen Wei and Carrie Kamm as the district's newest administrators. Both will serve as curriculum and instruction directors, replacing the lone curriculum director post.

The new administrators will each oversee one middle school and its feeder elementary schools.

Kamm will oversee Brooks, Lincoln, Holmes, Whittier and Hatch. Wei (pronounced WAY) will oversee Julian, Mann, Beye, Longfellow and Irving. Kamm formerly served as mentor and resident coach at the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a teacher training organization.

Founded in 2001, the Chicago-based nonprofit provides professional development for CPS faculty. According to its website, AUSL has graduated more than 750 teachers from 35 CPS schools through its residency program.

Wei served for five years as principal of Chicago Academy Elementary School in Chicago's Portage Park neighborhood, and prior to that was an assistant principal there. The North Side school has roughly 600 students, the majority of whom, 64 percent, are Hispanic. The academy is also in AUSL's network of schools.  

In an interview Friday, Wei said she applied for the D97 post wanting to move to Oak Park because of the school district and its diverse community. Wei is an Oak Park native but moved with her family to Skokie, where she grew up and attended school, when she was two years old.

"I was instantly attracted to Oak Park as a district and fascinated by the position," she said.

The new curriculum director posts are part of a revamping of the district's curriculum department. A deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction is also expected to be hired this fall. Wei and Kamm have already met with the district's principals and start their new jobs next week. Both discussed and agreed that splitting up the schools would work best.

"We'll have an opportunity to development the department as we grow into our roles," said Wei, the mother of two young children. "It'll be a collaborative effort on how we will be working in our schools."

The district has not yet released each administrator's salary or term of service, but most administrators are on annual contracts. 

Wei, 41, began her teaching career in 1996 and has worked mostly in CPS. She said she knew since high school that she wanted to be a teacher. Both of her parents were educators — her mother a schoolteacher and her father a professor in his native Taiwan. The couple immigrated to America in 1970.

Wei did her administrative studies at National-Louis University, and earned her Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin-Madison. As for other interests, Wei said she's an avid reader and spends time with her children and husband, who works in Chicago's nonprofit sector. 

Reader Comments

5 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy


Posted: August 11th, 2014 6:51 AM

I hope the keep The Arts in the curriculum because, if they are threatened, we'll have to pass a referendum to save them!

Retired from D97  

Posted: August 10th, 2014 7:23 AM

Though this new model will cost more. These new directors were making more in CPS than these positions used to pay in D97. I doubt they took a big pay cut to have the honor of coming to Oak Park. And you do need to add back in the Deputy Supt. that was cut out a few years ago. I see from the job posting that SPED will be back under this position again, too. Just like 7 or 8 years ago. Everything old is new again.

Retired from D97  

Posted: August 10th, 2014 7:15 AM

This is actually a return to the model used before the current supt. downsized the dept. a few years ago. Must not have worked.

sadly taxed out from Oak Park  

Posted: August 9th, 2014 11:23 AM

Don't forget about the new Deputy Super to be hired this fall which makes 3 for 1.


Posted: August 9th, 2014 8:28 AM

Only in the public sector can we figure out a way to replace one administrative $120K position with two.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2017

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2017 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad