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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