The Director of Campus Safety at Oak Park and River Forest High School has resigned after only one year in the position. The resignation of Cherylynn Jones-McLeod was part of the personnel report that was approved by a 6-1 vote at the June 8 meeting of the OPRF District 200 Board of Education. Fred Arkin, a school board member, cast the only vote against approving the personnel report but Arkin declined to say why he voted against accepting the personnel report saying that his reason relates to something discussed in closed session.

It was a challenging year for campus safety at OPRF. There seemed to be more fights than normal, or at least more publicity about fights. Last fall a group of security guards told the school board that they did not feel appreciated by higher ups at the school. During the spring a couple of teachers told the school board that they have concerns about safety at OPRF and the school board authorized hiring six additional security guards for OPRF after Principal Lynda Parker initially requested adding 14 additional campus safety officers. In April the administration also hosted a community conversation about safety at OPRF. 

Jones-McLeod declined, through Karin Sullivan, the school spokesperson, an interview request from Wednesday Journal. 

Jones-McLeod worked as the assistant director of campus safety at OPRF from July 2019 until January 2021 and then worked for a year at OPRF as a trauma informed interventionist before briefly leaving OPRF in February 2022 to take a job at READI CHICAGO, a gun violence prevention program sponsored by the Heartland Alliance. She returned to OPRF five months later to become the Director of Campus Safety last summer.

“Cherylynn has been completely committed to making safety a top priority for everyone in the building, and she will definitely be missed,” Parker said in a comment that was emailed to Wednesday Journal by Sullivan.

Before coming to OPRF in 2019 Jones-McLeod worked for one year as the Dean of Students at Chicago Academy High School on the northwest side of Chicago. Before coming to Chicago Jones-McLeod worked for nearly five years in the Baltimore City Public Schools. Before going to Baltimore she worked for almost three years as the assistant director of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago.

Jones-McLeod declined to disclose her future plans. Her resignation becomes effective June 23.

Jonathan Silver, an OPRF dean, has also resigned. A 16-year veteran of OPRF, Silver served as a dean for 11 years. He also declined, through Sullivan, to be interviewed by Wednesday Journal.

Buildings and grounds director dies

Fred Pruess, who had been the Director of Buildings and Grounds at OPRF since 2015, died on June 5 succumbing to cancer.

“He was a man who absolutely loved this building,” said OPRF Superintendent Greg Johnson at the June 8 school board meeting. “He took great pride in how it looked and in fact one of his last comments to me was ‘take care of my building.’”

Pruess was 60 years old and lived in Westchester with his wife Tiffany. Before coming to OPRF in 2015 Pruess worked for nearly 16 years in field services for Amsco Engineering.

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