Public school superintendents are paid well. They also have jobs that are frequently brutal and sometimes short-lived.
That’s the context in which we observe that the school board at Oak Park and River Forest High School last week voted unanimously to tear up the final year on Supt. Greg Johnson’s initial three-year pact and replace it with a new four-year agreement.
As we regularly note, a superintendent is the single school employee who reports to the school board. When, after two years of working together, the board feels they have a strong leader, it is time to extend that contract, show support for their employee and send a clear message to all constituencies that the vision of the school is fully aligned.
In a job that is way too big, Johnson’s critical projects are to make the detracking of the freshman curriculum work over the coming years and to push through the largest capital improvement campaign in the school’s history.
We find Johnson to be smart, thoughtful, accessible, and largely without the ego that can sometimes swamp a school leader. He earned this post through his solid work as an assistant and then associate superintendent at OPRF under Joylynn Pruitt Adams since 2017.
While he has worked to build an administrative team, there have been some bumps, in unexpected departures and hires that did not stick. He is not alone in facing this era of job fluidity, but some of his hires and promotions have been stellar.