Supt. Dr. Pruitt-Adams announces retirement at end of 2020-2021 school year

At its regular meeting this evening, the District 200 Board of Education voted to approve the retirement of Supt. Dr. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams, effective July 1, 2021. The superintendent’s current contract extends only one more year, through June 30, 2022, but Dr. Pruitt-Adams said that for a variety of reasons now is the right time to pass the baton. 

“What started out as a one-year interim agreement in 2016 has grown into a five-year commitment and labor of love,” Dr. Pruitt-Adams said. “Being a superintendent is an extraordinarily intense job in the best of times.  Doing this job while my husband and family have remained in St. Louis has been doubly hard. The toll has been tremendous, both personally and professionally. It’s bittersweet for me, but I know it’s time for me to return home.”

With four Board seats up for election this spring, Dr. Pruitt-Adams added, “Delivering this message to you now will give this Board, who knows the district so intimately, the opportunity to identify my successor.” 

“It has been a pleasure to work with Dr. Pruitt-Adams,” Board President Sara Dixon Spivy said. “She has led the District with quiet grace and confidence through issues difficult and novel--from the release of America to Me at the beginning of her tenure to implementation of remote learning during a worldwide pandemic. Through it all, our students' well-being has remained her constant focus. Dr. Pruitt-Adams's legacy cannot be overstated; she has championed racial and gender equity and built an executive cabinet brimming with talent. While the Board is very sorry to see her go, she is leaving us well-equipped to meet the challenges ahead, and we are grateful for her service to the District.”

Dr. Pruitt-Adams began her tenure with the district as interim superintendent for the 2016-2017 school year. Following a national search, the Board hired her as the permanent superintendent in December 2016. 

“Together, we--the administration and the Board--have achieved a great deal and taken this District far beyond where it was when I began,” Dr. Pruitt-Adams noted. Significant milestones during her time with the district include:

  • Creating a strategic plan that gives the district the direction to become an exemplary school district. 
  • Navigating the controversy of America to Me and the walkouts and sit-ins that followed, which resulted in giving OPRF students voice at all levels of the organization. 
  • Eliminating barriers that exist for Black, Brown, and LGBTQ+ students through policies and procedures. 
  • Detracking the freshman curriculum so that all students have access to honors-level classes. 
  • Making the first major facility changes in 50 years, enhancements that students have said they want and need.

“My tenure here at Oak Park and River Forest High School has been the most amazing and challenging of my 44 years as an educator,” Dr. Pruitt-Adams said. “Each of these accomplishments has come with enormous challenges. I thank all who have worked in partnership to navigate those difficulties and who  remain focused on doing what is best for our students.”

Information about the Board’s plans to search for a successor will be forthcoming.