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Program Spotlights New OPRF Leader

Steven Isoye takes the stage for a meet-and-greet session with parents.

Steven Isoye took the stage at Oak Park-River Forest High School's Little Theater and introduced himself to dozens of parents, and putting the new District 200 superintendent in the spotlight suited some in the crowd just fine. 

"He was picked kind of quickly, and I really didn't know what was going on [with the search]," said Maria Citko, an Oak Park mom whose children have attended OPRF under three consecutive superintendent regimes. 

Isoye took questions from Board of Education president Dietra Millard during Tuesday's meet and greet. Most were geared toward Isoye's resume and teaching background, which includes hopscotching stints as a science teacher at high schools in the northern suburbs. 

He made the leap into school administration in 1997 by chairing the science department at Highland Park High School, where he was named 1998's Illinois Teacher of the Year. 

In 2000, Isoye became head of the science, industrial technology and family consumer sciences departments at Warren Township High School. He was named principal of the school's freshman and sophomore campus in 2003. 

In 2007, he became principal of Maine East High School in Park Ridge, and earlier this year was named the Illinois Principal Association's High School Principal of the Year for his work at the school. 

Now, he finds himself in charge of guiding the educational policies for OPRF's estimated 3,200 students. 

Isoye said he was recruited for the OPRF job — after all, things "were going extremely well" at Maine East. 

But he was swayed to take up the new challenge, he said,  because of OPRF is a "well-known" and "highly respected" school that has deep ties to the community. 

"How this community believes in this school...that's a thread that comes through across every conversation," he said. 

His position took effect July 1. According to media reports, the annual salary during  his three-year contract is $205,000. 

As the academic year unfolds, Isoye said, school officials will examine old programs and policies that may need "pruning" or "tweaking," while at the same time establishing a culture where ideas can percolate from anywhere. 

"I can have all of the ideas in the world, but if no one else like them, then it doesn't matter," he said. "We need to refocus to see how we're serving students."

Video: Superintendent Steven Isoye talks about the importance of the community's response to student drug use during Tuesday's meet and greet. 

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