Lynda Parker

Greg Johnson, currently the associate superintendent at OPRF but about to become superintendent, received school board support May 27 for a batch of key hires and promotions within the school’s administration.

Among the notable changes is the return of the title of principal at the school. For the past two years, District 200 has not had a principal. But come fall Lynda Parker, currently director of student services, will become assistant superintendent and principal.

Some of those hired or promoted were recognized at the meeting and welcomed to the District 200 community. 

Among the newly hired are Patrick Hardy, who has been named executive director for equity and student success. Hardy, a longtime educator and former principal of Proviso East High School in Maywood, will succeed LeVar Ammons, the district’s first equity director. Ammons resigned from the position after two years. 

During the meeting, Hardy appeared in front of board members to share his excitement on the new role. “I’m absolutely looking forward to working with the incoming superintendent, the team that is being assembled here tonight and in other places,” he said. “I’m also excited to join this particular school and its local conservation on racial equity but also be able to be part of the national conversation. This is a very timely conversation that I get to be a part of and lead.” 

Other new additions to district staff are Lesley Roberts, who will serve as the assistant director of special education; Maureen Miller, director of instructional technology; and Brian Contant, division head for the English department. 

Like Hardy, Roberts took a moment to thank the board for the opportunity and said she looked forward to working alongside the students and Shalema Francois-Blue, the special education department’s executive director. Before coming to D200, Roberts was at Evanston Township High School and oversaw roughly 90 special education teachers, therapists, interns and paraprofessionals, according to a news release issued by the district.  

Roberts was part of the Evanston high school’s district equity leadership team and has experience as a school psychologist and assistant principal at other Chicagoland schools. 

As for Miller, she previously served as the director of technology for Winnetka Public Schools District 36 and held various administrative roles at surrounding school districts such as North Shore School District 112 and Deerfield High School. For almost a decade, Contant has been the curriculum director of English for Joliet Township High School District 204 and led the district-wide initiative for racial equity.

At the meeting, the board also recognized Parker, director of student services, who will now step into the role of assistant superintendent and principal. In the last three years, Parker has sought to continue building a more supportive environment at OPRFHS. Some examples include launching a schoolwide campaign to create an “environment of care,” expanding the district’s support system to meet students’ needs and creating the first trauma-informed interventionist position, the news release stated. 

“As we ride the waves together, I’m just excited that it was seen that I could do this work, and I’m so excited to do this work,” Parker said during the meeting. 

Laurie Fiorenza, director of student learning, has been promoted to assistant superintendent for student learning. Administrative Assistant Lisa Evans, a 17-year district employee, also received a promotion and will take on the position of executive assistant to the superintendent and clerk of the board. Evans will replace current executive assistant to the superintendent Gail Kalmerton, who plans to retire in June 2022. 

Rounding out the list of key hires is Dean of Students Brian Beyers, who was recently named the division head for the physical education, health and driver education department. 

During Beyers’ brief speech, he told board members and his colleagues how eager he is to have the opportunity and work even more closely with students and teachers. When Beyers began his career as an educator, he taught physical education across all grade levels, the news release stated. 

“I’m humbled. I’m honored,” said Beyers, who has been a dean at OPRFHS for the last eight years. “I’m looking forward to this change in this position here at home.” 

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