Dr. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams named permanent superintendent

December 21, 2016

The District 200 Board of Education is pleased to announce that it has unanimously approved the hiring of Joylynn Pruitt-Adams, Ed.D., as permanent superintendent. Dr. Pruitt-Adams, who has been serving as interim superintendent since July 1, 2016, was chosen after a months-long national search that drew 48 candidates from 12 states and sought input from several dozen local stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, administrators, parents, and community members. Dr. Pruitt-Adams' new contract begins Jan. 1, 2017, and runs through June 30, 2020.

In just five months with the district, Dr. Pruitt-Adams, who is opting to use her married name going forward, has developed a reputation as a thoughtful, bold leader who believes passionately and unconditionally in the potential of every student to succeed. “Dr. Pruitt-Adams already has proven here, as well as in her prior district, that she is the kind of leader who can connect with and support students and families, faculty and staff, administrators, and community members,” Board President Jeff Weissglass said. “She is experienced, grounded, and committed to holding herself and others to high standards. Most importantly, she is genuinely excited about implementing the district’s ambitious strategic plan to address long-standing challenges and strive for equity and excellence for all students.”

Dr. Pruitt-Adams has been commuting between Oak Park and University City, Mo., while serving as interim; now she and her husband, Charles Adams, who recently retired as police chief in University City, will relocate full-time to Oak Park. Prior to coming to District 200, Dr. Pruitt-Adams served for nine years as superintendent of the School District of University City, a community near Washington University known for its diverse population, cultural appeal, and blend of urban and suburban amenities. Prior to making a formal offer, two District 200 board members made a site visit to Dr. Pruitt-Adams’s previous district, where they met with about 20 stakeholders. They praised Dr. Pruitt-Adams for being student centered, transparent, collaborative, trustworthy, accountable, and flexible yet firm, as well as able to lead with her heart and motivate with love.

“I’m looking forward to working in a district and community that truly values education not just for some students but for all students,” Dr. Pruitt-Adams said. “I’ve been impressed that people in this community not only want change but also are willing to be an active part of that change. My goal is to help build on the foundation of the great organization that already exists so that we can truly live up to our motto ‘Those things that are best.’”

Dr. Pruitt-Adams’ notable accomplishments in University City included improving reading assessment results, increasing enrollment in Advanced Placement courses, implementing restorative justice and alternatives to suspensions, curbing an uptick in youth violence, overseeing a multitude of professional development programs, creating partnerships with a broad base of roughly 70 community groups, and passing two referenda for expansion and replacement of facilities with more than 70% approval. 

While superintendent, Dr. Pruitt-Adams also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, as an instructor for its Doctorate Leadership Learning Community. Her previous positions have included 11 years as a teacher of special education, elementary school principal, and assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. Dr. Pruitt-Adams earned her doctorate in educational policy and leadership from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She holds a bachelor of arts in elementary education/special education from Harris-Stowe State College and a master of education in elementary administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.