Carole Kelley has been the superintendent of Oak Park’s District 97 elementary schools for 100 days already. We know that because last week she provided the school board and community with an ambitious and detailed report. It reflected the scope of the people she has communicated with, both in the schools and consciously outside the system. It offered clear signs that she listened well to the criticism and the praise of the district she heard. It included bold ideas on restructuring administration even before this school year ends. And it closed with a highly detailed timeline of what is to be accomplished each month through June.
We’ll admit we got a little lost in the educational jargon. But we did not miss the urgency Supt. Kelley feels, the determination to be more inclusive in decision-making, the faith in using data to understand complex challenges, the need to be more focused and much less distracted in implementing a shared vision, and a simple declaration that this district must “row as one” if its essential promise is to be met.
This was a heady effort from a superintendent ready to lead.