Senior Advisor to CEO
Denise Little was named to her current position in July 2015. She previously served as Chief of Networks since late 2012, but her career with the District stretches back several decades. She has held teaching and administrative positions in Five CPS Schools. Prior to her current role as Chief Officer, Office of Network Support, Denise served as Chief of Schools for the Garfield 'Humboldt Park Network, which showed the highest academic achievement gains in the city of Chicago for five years under her leadership.
Denise holds an M.A. from Roosevelt University and has received extensive training through both the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Harvard University's Public Education Leadership Program. A product of the Chicago Public Schools, Denise believes in the power of a strong public school system to be the vehicle for student success.
A lifelong educator, Denise believes in a strong team, a clear focus, and a commitment to high expectations. As Chief Officer for Network Support, she led the change management process which holds schools accountable for maintaining high standards and implementing a strong instructional program that prepares all students for life, higher education, career and citizenship.
Q. What are you best known for professionally?
A. I believe I am best known for my high expectations for our students and the adults who serve them. I strongly believe that dedicated teams who share the vision and high expectations and are willing to do the work can build strong schools anywhere in the city.
Q. What was your philosophy as a classroom teacher?
A. This is personal, close to my heart. My expectations for my own children are what drove my work as a classroom teacher. I tried to treat every one of my students like I would want my own child to be treated. I looked at my students through the caring lens of a parent and the professional lens of a teacher. I believed that I was there to be their advocate and to help them learn, no matter what it took.
Q. Who has been the biggest influence on your decision to work as an educator?
A. Most of all, my mother, who is a retired CPS teacher, has been the driving influence in my decision to work as an educator... I learned from her that first and foremost I am always a teacher. Beyond my mother, and over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to have a number of teachers and administrators who helped shape and guide my work.
Q. What personal goal do you have for yourself in the coming years?
A. I'd like to play the piano again. I played in my youth, but haven't tried it in a long time. So I'd like to learn again. It's a project I'm saving for my retirement.
Q. How would you want to be remembered for your time with CPS?
A. I'd like to be remembered as someone who was passionate about children; as someone who pushed for students and parents who don't have a voice; as someone who always believed that our students can and will meet and exceed the high expectations we hold for them.
- Favorite Sports Team: Chicago Bulls
- Favorite Movie: The Godfather
- Favorite Leisure Time Activity: Shopping
- Favorite Spot in Chicago: Lake Front
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