Jeremy Duffy, vice president of the Oak Park Elementary District 97 school board, is leaving his post for a “new professional opportunity,” according to an email announcement sent to district staff and families Aug. 17.
Duffy, officially announced his resignation on Tuesday, notified the board about his decision to step down sometime over the weekend, said Amanda Siegfried, the district’s senior director of communications. While Siegfried declined to comment on the details of Duffy’s new job, she said he plans to remain a “District 97 parent and support the school in that way.”
Duffy could not be immediately reached for comment.
In April, Duffy, a first-time candidate, was elected to the school board. Duffy, whose career in education ranges from teacher to attorney, has played a crucial role in the district and offered “valuable expertise on a number of important issues,” namely the superintendent search and reopening plan, the email stated. Duffy’s resignation takes effect Aug. 31.
The board has 60 days to fill vacancies upon receiving a resignation, according to its policy and state law.
“The clock, I believe, is officially ticking,” Siegfried said.
Board members are reviewing the next steps to start the search. More information about the application and interview process will be shared with the community by Aug. 31, the email stated.
Siegfried said the board plans to set a deadline for the applications once they are released, vetting for candidates and interviewing them soon after.
Those who are interested in applying to become a District 97 school board member should meet the following criteria: They must be 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, an Illinois resident and a registered voter.
Candidates must have lived in Oak Park for “at least one year immediately preceding the appointment,” the board policy stated. Candidates are considered ineligible for the role, if they are a sex offender, hold an “incompatible” position or work in “certain types of state or federal employment,” the policy also stated. For a complete outline of D97’s board policy, visit www.op97.org/boe/policies.
The appointed individual is expected to serve on the board until the next election in April 2023.
“At that time, an individual will be elected to serve the remaining two years of the unexpired term,” the email explained. Siegfried shared that a new board vice president will be named at a future public board meeting, Siegfried said.
In the email, school board President Jung Kim shared her thoughts on Duffy’s departure.
“On behalf of the board, I want to thank Jeremy for his dedicated service to District 97 and the Oak Park community, particularly as we navigated the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kim said. “Although we are disappointed to be losing a valued member of our team, we are sincerely happy for our friend and colleague, and wish him nothing but the best.”