Carol Kelley, superintendent of Oak Park’s public elementary schools, will hold that post at least through 2022 after the District 97 school board approved a new five-year contract this week.

Meeting Aug. 15, the school board unanimously approved the new contract. Board members Rupa Datta, Rob Breymaier and Keecia Broy were not present for Tuesday’s vote, but they each drafted statements in support of Kelley’s new contract that were read by D97 board President Holly Spurlock.

Kelley was hired in 2015 to replace retiring superintendent Al Roberts. She was selected from a pool of nearly 50 candidates from 11 states. Kelley’s first, three-year contract had a base salary of $199,500. Her new contract has a base of $219,440. 

Kelley’s five-year contract is a performance-based contract that measures the superintendent’s ability to meet five “student performance and academic improvement goals … and any other performance goals and objectives established by the board,” according to the language of the new contract. Pay increases will be based on achieving these goals and are limited to a maximum of six percent in any single year.

The first performance goal is for every student in the district to become a “known, nurtured and celebrated learner.” 

Some of the benchmarks used to indicate whether that goal is met or not are the “ongoing development and implementation of a strong social emotional learning curriculums,” the ability of D97 teachers to access and participate in “professional development for instruction and cultural competency work, including implicit bias,” and the district’s ability to recruit, interview and/or hire “teachers that mirror” the D97 student population. 

The other four goals, and their accompanying performance indicators, were also heavily focused on the district’s attempts to improve equity and student-centered instruction. 

Some of the performance indicators under the other four goals included the ability to decrease the number of students receiving office discipline referrals and receiving suspensions. Another indicator included reducing the reading and mathematics achievement gap. 

Goal three, for instance, focuses on the superintendent’s ability to “create an instructional environment that is aligned across all systems, structures and processes to support the whole child, increase confidence, and develop critical thinking skills so that every student is inspired to develop their full potential.” 


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