The Oak Park and River Forest High School community is mourning the death of a former teacher and administrator. Jason Dennis, who taught history before being promoted to dean, died on Dec. 18, as a result of injuries he sustained in a Dec. 10 car crash along Interstate I-80.
Karin Sullivan, the district’s communications director, said Dennis left OPRF in 2019. According to the high school’s track and field team website, Dennis coached discus.
He attended Illinois Wesleyan University, “where he was a five-time All-American and the 2000 indoor national champion in the shot put,” the website states.
“Coach Dennis was fortunate enough to coach former OPRF state discus champion and 10-time Division 1 All-American Brittany Smith among many other very talented student-athletes,” according to the website.
District 200 Superintendent Joylynn Pruitt-Adams told faculty and staff about Dennis’ death on Dec. 18, Sullivan said.
“Jason began his career at OPRF as a history teacher before taking on the role of dean,” Pruitt-Adams said in an email statement. “He missed teaching, however, and returned to the classroom before eventually becoming assistant principal. He also was a football coach for many years.
“Jason had many friends at OPRF, and we know that you may need someone to talk to during this difficult time,” she added. “We will have members of our support services staff available in Room 308 throughout the day tomorrow for anyone who wishes to drop in. We will share details of any arrangements when they become available.”
As of Dec. 19, a GoFundMe campaign created by Devontaé Beale on Dec. 16 to help cover Dennis’ medical expenses had raised $2,685 of its $15,000 goal.