The Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education last week approved the hiring of a former Oak Park and River Forest High School special education official.
Mary Polk, who has worked in the special education program at OPRF for the past 25 years, will start next year as the district’s first director of special education.
Polk will be responsible for overseeing all the needs of the approximately 180 students in the district’s special education program, said Dist. 96 Supt. Jonathan Lamberson.
Polk will also be responsible for assisting principals and other administrators with interpreting test data for the district. This additional role, he said, will involve tracking students’ progress, assessing testing needs and trends at the individual, class and school levels.
Polk herself said she was “very excited” to start her new post in the district. A lifelong resident of Riverside, she attended both Central School and Hauser Junior High as a child, crediting her first grade teacher, Corinne Coffey, with setting her on her path towards a career in education.
“The opportunity to serve my neighbors in my hometown in the very building where I spent the most exciting time of my life is a dream job for me,” she said.
Polk started at OPRF as a special education teacher in 1981, and now serves as their support services chairperson.