Advisory Councils

Charles Anderson

Charles Anderson

Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet High School

Charles Anderson serves as the principal of Michele Clark High School. A native Chicagoan from the city’s west side, Charles has dedicated his career to serving young people in communities like the one he was raised in. He began his career in education teaching at Westinghouse College Prep as and has since served the district as a school counselor and assistant principal.

As principal, Charles works to make sure students have the opportunity to soar and prioritizes helping them believe in themselves. Throughout his career, he has been an unapologetic advocate for all children, and he has prioritized academic progress equally with his students’ social and emotional needs.

Through his expertise, creative leadership style, and innovative approach, Charles is creating a learning environment that is student-centered, provides shared leadership opportunities for his staff, and engages the surrounding community.


Javier Arriola-Lopez

Javier Arriola-Lopez

Carson Elementary School

Javier has served as the leader of Carson Elementary School since 2007. He joined the Principal Advisory Council because he recognizes that CPS faces unique challenges, and he wants to contribute to finding solutions for the district.

Javier graduated from Chicago’s Morgan Park High School after coming to the U.S. from Mexico at the age of 16. As a student, he did not see many Latino teachers or principals, so he went into education, in part, to begin turning that tide. Javier works to be a powerful role model for his Latino students, teaching them that they can overcome any obstacle and achieve their dreams, just as he did.

Javier wants his educators to be lifelong learners, so he has created book clubs at Carson that have teachers reading more professional literature. He has also increased the grade levels covered by the school’s dual-language program and will continue building on this progress until all students in grades Pre-K–8 have access to this rigorous an academic experience.


Nora Cadenas

Nora Cadenas

Seward Communication Arts Academy

For eight years, Nora Cadenas has served as principal of Seward Communication Arts Academy in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. She is extremely honored to be a part of the Principal Advisory Council and looks forward to supporting her colleagues and learning from their experience.

A graduate of CPS schools, Nora’s passion for education started when her brother was placed in a program for students with diverse learning needs. She wanted to make sure that children like her brother would be given the tools necessary to reach their full potential. Serving as a principal has given Nora the opportunity to support all students as they work toward their academic, social, and emotional goals.

Nora and the Seward team are focused on ensuring that all students are prepared to succeed in a global, 21st-Century economy. She prioritizes developing teachers who put children first and who are persistent in growing their capacity to help students and colleagues grow.


Sherly Chavarria

Sherly Chavarria

William P. Nixon Elementary School

Sherly Chavarria is in her third year as principal of William P. Nixon Elementary School. She joined the Principal Advisory Council to offer her perspective as a Latina serving a predominantly Latino community.

Sherly was born in Nicaragua and was the first in her family to go to college. She graduated from Stanford University, and this opportunity for a great education, along with her graduate studies at University of Illinois-Chicago, is what inspired her to become a teacher and a principal.

As principal, Sherly prioritizes building positive, trusting, collaborative relationships among students, staff members, parents, and community members. As Nixon transitioned to a dual-language environment, she worked hard to leverage trust among stakeholders to bring instructional coherence to her school. As a result, English learners at Nixon are now experiencing growth that matches their native English-speaking peers.


Fatima Cooke

Fatima Cooke

Sumner Math and Science Community Academy

After two years as assistant principal, Fatima Cooke is serving in her third year as principal of Sumner Math and Science Community Academy. As a member of the Principal Advisory Council, Fatima seeks to tackle concerns and new initiatives on behalf of principals, teachers, and students.

A proud graduate of CPS, Fatima values the teachers and staff who guided her educational journey. She spent most of her 15 years in urban education teaching primary grades and pursued the role of principal to expand her impact.

While at Sumner, Fatima has increased the school’s partnerships to make literacy in the primary grades a focus, and she is working to reinforce her staff’s instructional pedagogy. She is committed to making sure that students in her school are exposed to a wide range of experiences that will allow them to envision who they could become in the future.


Sherly Chavarria

Sherly Chavarria

William P. Nixon Elementary School

Sherly Chavarria is in her third year as principal of William P. Nixon Elementary School. She joined the Principal Advisory Council to offer her perspective as a Latina serving a predominantly Latino community.

Sherly was born in Nicaragua and was the first in her family to go to college. She graduated from Stanford University, and this opportunity for a great education, along with her graduate studies at University of Illinois-Chicago, is what inspired her to become a teacher and a principal.

As principal, Sherly prioritizes building positive, trusting, collaborative relationships among students, staff members, parents, and community members. As Nixon transitioned to a dual-language environment, she worked hard to leverage trust among stakeholders to bring instructional coherence to her school. As a result, English learners at Nixon are now experiencing growth that matches their native English-speaking peers.


Fatima Cooke

Fatima Cooke

Sumner Math and Science Community Academy

After two years as assistant principal, Fatima Cooke is serving in her third year as principal of Sumner Math and Science Community Academy. As a member of the Principal Advisory Council, Fatima seeks to tackle concerns and new initiatives on behalf of principals, teachers, and students.

A proud graduate of CPS, Fatima values the teachers and staff who guided her educational journey. She spent most of her 15 years in urban education teaching primary grades and pursued the role of principal to expand her impact.

While at Sumner, Fatima has increased the school’s partnerships to make literacy in the primary grades a focus, and she is working to reinforce her staff’s instructional pedagogy. She is committed to making sure that students in her school are exposed to a wide range of experiences that will allow them to envision who they could become in the future.


Kelly Dean

Kelly Dean

Spencer Technology Academy

Kelly Dean currently serves as the principal of Spencer Technology Academy in Chicago’s Austin community. Prior to her role as principal, she was a director of instructional support at the network level and a special education teacher. She joined the Principal Advisory Council to serve as a voice for her colleagues on various topics.

Kelly was influenced by her grandmother, a former CPS special education teacher, to pursue a career in education. Her desire to ensure that all students have access to a quality education is what led her to become a teacher and ultimately a principal. Kelly believes that results are achieved when there is distributive leadership that works to find the best solutions for all children. Engaging school leaders and teachers to educate and motivate students has strengthened her passion for problem solving and developing systems and processes that advance student achievement.

Currently, Kelly’s work at Spencer is focused around improving core instruction with an emphasis on small group instruction and rigorous tasks. Primary literacy in preschool through 2nd grade has been prioritized to ensure that students have foundational skills and enter intermediate grades prepared for success.


Maureen Delgado

Maureen Delgado

DeWitt Clinton Elementary School

Maureen is currently the principal of DeWitt Clinton Elementary School. She joined the Principal Advisory Council to be a voice for her students, teachers, and staff, and to contribute her views as a new principal of a large diverse school.

Maureen decided to become a principal to have a greater impact. She believes that a principal not only affects change within the school, but also empowers students and parents to affect positive change within the neighborhood.

At Clinton, Maureen has focused on creating personalized schedules for all 570 students to support their varying learning styles and academic proficiency. During the school day, Clinton has designated intervention times to work with at-risk students and enrichment times to encourage exploration and provide thought provoking projects and discussions.


Timothy Divine

Timothy Divine

Walter Payton College Prep High School

The leader of Walter Payton College Prep High School since 2011, Tim joined the Principal Advisory Council because he believes that our District needs to be nurtured, and because he enjoys being part of a group of educational leaders who bring differing perspectives to support the various needs of high school students.

His family’s commitment to public service inspired Tim to become an educator. He particularly enjoys guiding high school students as they mature from 9th grader and graduate four years later as adults. Tim enjoys helping shape students during this pivotal transition and encouraging them to become the best version of themselves.

Tim became a principal because this leadership role is a nexus of education theory, practice, and policy, all of which interest him professionally. During his time at Payton, Tim helped increase SEL programming, created unique Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, and developed a daily enrichment program so students could access additional academic supports, participate in athletics, and explore identity organizations during the school day. He has also provided consistent professional development activities for faculty that focus on culturally responsive pedagogy.


Emily Feltes

Emily Feltes

North Grand High School

Now in her second year as principal at North Grand High School, Emily joined the Principal Advisory Council to gain a better understanding of our District’s vision and to contribute her voice and knowledge in a way that will benefit all CPS schools and the services they provide.

Emily was inspired to become a teacher by her older sister, a CPS educator in the Little Village community. Visiting her sister’s classroom made Emily fall in love with Chicago and its students. She saw the difference her sister was making in children’s lives and decided she wanted to do the same. Emily became the principal of a neighborhood school because she believes passionately that every child deserves access to a quality, equitable education, and she wanted to provide that to the students in her community.

Her leadership at North Grand has resulted in an increase in both the school’s Freshmen-on-Track and graduation rates. Her work has contributed to a nurturing, comfortable environment for all students and has helped increase staff focus and morale.


Sydney Golliday

Sydney Golliday

Drake Elementary School

Sydney Golliday is serving in her fourth year as principal of Drake Elementary School. Prior to this role, she was the resident principal of Healy Elementary School and an assistant principal at Crane High School. Sydney joined the Principal Advisory Council to collaborate with other high performing leaders and to provide a unique perspective on various district initiatives.

Growing up on the west side of Chicago, Sydney was exposed to poverty and crime, as well as love, high expectations, and a supportive family with a strong work ethic. Her grandmother would often say, “Leave things better than the way you found them,” and this became the mantra that taught Sydney how to influence and lead others.

As principal, Sydney’s areas of focus include successfully implementing a partnership with Leading Educators to increase teacher leadership and rigorous instruction and student tasks. She is also working to provide quality academic and enrichment programing for all school and community stakeholders.


Angelica Herrera-Vest

Angelica Herrera-Vest

Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez Elementary School

For nearly 19 years, Angelica has been leading Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez Elementary School. She joined the Principal Advisory Council because she wanted to have a voice in how policies and decisions are made at the district level and be an advocate for early childhood education.

Angelica was inspired to go into the field of education because of her positive school experiences and great teachers as a child, including helping her fellow classmates in El Paso, Texas to learn English.

She finds building relationships with her staff, students and their families to be the most rewarding part of her job as principal of Ortiz de Dominguez. She’s proud of the success of her school’s special education and bilingual programs, and well as an attendance rate that is always at 95% or higher.


Shannae Jackson

Shannae Jackson

Brooks College Prep High School

Shannae Jackson is the principal of Brooks College Prep High School. She joined the Principal Advisory Council to learn more about policies and programs that impact students, schools, staff, and stakeholders. In addition, she wants to be a collaborative contributor and voice in the district’s success.

Shannae is a graduate of CPS and became an educator to advocate for equitable opportunities for students, just as the educators in her life did for her. She is passionate about setting high expectations for students while giving all children individualized supports to meet their unique needs, interests, and goals.

Shannae believes that collaboration and shared leadership are the keys to student and staff success. She relies on her talented team to provide students with high-quality educational experiences while she works to design and implement structures that impact student growth.


Paul  Karafiol

Paul Karafiol

Lake View High School

Paul has been the principal of Lake View High School since 2016. He joined the Principal Advisory Council to be the voice of a neighborhood high school and to learn from colleagues and district officials.

As curriculum coordinator at Walter Payton, Paul saw his impact and was inspired by the principals he worked for to have an even greater impact. The most rewarding part of his job is watching teachers support students to do amazing things.

Under Paul’s leadership, Lake View’s department instructional leads have taken an active role in developing formative assessment practices schoolwide, and students are learning more with this focused instructional practice. Paul is also undertaking a major initiative to increase the number of clubs and activities at the school.


Miyoshi Knox

Miyoshi Knox

Stagg School of Excellence

Miyoshi is the principal who turned around Stagg School of Excellence in 2012, and she has been leading this school community ever since. She joined the Principal Advisory Council to be a voice for the principals of the AUSL Network.

A former CPS student, Miyoshi’s first students were her five younger siblings. The people in her life recognized her passion for teaching early on and encouraged her to move toward the thing that gave her joy. She became a principal because she believes that school quality begins with a strong leader, and because she was confident in her ability to develop a strong staff that would have a positive impact on student achievement.

As the principal of Stagg, Miyoshi focuses on being better and leading better. She participates in professional development and is intentional about building solid trust with her staff. Miyoshi is committed to being accessible and to listening to the feedback of all stakeholders when critical choices are at stake.


Michelle Ludford-Naggatz

Michelle Ludford-Naggatz

Beaubien Elementary School

Michelle has been leading Beaubien Elementary School since 2012. She joined the Principal Advisory Council to develop a better understanding of how decisions are made at the District level, and because she wants to play whatever role she can in making CPS the best urban school system in the country.

Michelle became a principal because she loves challenges and change. She grew into this role by working as an assistant principal at two CPS elementary schools and being mentored by two outstanding school leaders. One taught her about the importance of building relationships, and the other taught her that success is rooted in quality instruction, and in not being afraid to make the tough decisions.

At Beaubien, Michelle has created a professional culture that includes teacher leaders – dynamic educators who are encouraged to have a voice in creating school solutions. She has also added a new play space for students, and has invested in dance, music and language instruction to ensure that Beaubien is educating the whole child.


Raul Magdaleno

Raul Magdaleno

Thomas Kelly High School

Raul Magdaleno is in his second year serving as principal of Thomas Kelly High School in Chicago’s Brighton Park Community. As a former CPS student, teacher, and current CPS parent, Raul brings the voices of all stakeholders to his role on the Principal Advisory Council.

From a young age, Raul learned the value of an education from his parents, who emigrated to the U.S. from Jalisco, Mexico. They stressed that education is the key to any future success, and Raul applied this belief as he worked to overcome the challenges of being an English learner. This experience has propelled him to champion equitable access to education for all students.

As the principal of Kelly High School, Raul’s focus is to ensure that all students are prepared for success in college, career, and community. His goals include breaking down systemic barriers, expanding college-level classes, and working with all stakeholders to best prepare students for life beyond the walls of Kelly High School.


Alene Mason

Alene Mason

Joplin Elementary School

Alene has been leading Joplin Elementary School for the past 10 years. She joined the Principal Advisory Council to be a voice for administrators and help implement change that will transform CPS schools.

A graduate of Chicago’s Lindblom High School, Alene planned on a career in actuarial science. But that all changed the first time she accepted a role as a substitute teacher. She felt fulfilled working with the students and knew she had found her calling. Alene became a principal to extend her reach, and is now dedicated to helping students, staff and parents set high expectations and reach their full potential.

Under Alene’s leadership, Joplin has moved from a Level 3 to a Level 1 school. Attendance has increased, and Joplin has established several significant partnerships to improve students’ academic achievement and social-emotional development. Teachers have become more collaborative, and an on-site Parent University ensures that families are actively engaged in their children’s education.


Beulah McLoyd

Beulah McLoyd

Walter H. Dyett High School

Beulah McLoyd currently serves as the principal of Walter H. Dyett High School, Chicago’s only open-enrollment neighborhood high school for the arts. She joined the Principal Advisory Council to give voice to the hopes and concerns of her colleagues and provide them with insight on pertinent policy decisions that affect their daily work.

Beulah’s mission has remained the same throughout her 18-year career in education — ensure that all students, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status have access to a high-quality education. Her mission at Dyett is to develop the next generation of innovators, critical thinkers, and problem solvers through a curriculum that is rich in the arts and technology and focused on personalized learning.


Kristin Novy

Kristin Novy

Christopher House Elementary

Kristin Novy is in her fifth year as principal of Christopher House Elementary, which serves students in kindergarten through sixth grade in the Belmont-Cragin community. She joined the Principal Advisory Council to advocate for a holistic approach to teaching and learning and help all schools produce engaged, impactful citizens.

Kristin started her career in education as an English Language Arts teacher to share her belief in the power of the written word and provide her students with opportunities to create school publications. She eventually served as a literacy coach, focusing on the implementation of high quality instruction and collaborative teams. Kristin maintains a wide repertoire of skills and knowledge that positively impact teachers and their students, and her diverse experiences have helped shape her into a reflective and well-rounded leader who believes that schools can serve as a hub of social change.

At Christopher House Elementary, Kristin focuses on building strong cultures, creating integrated curriculum and assessments, using data constructively, connecting families and communities, and implementing 360-degree personalized learning in all classrooms.


Tawanna Patton

Tawanna Patton

EPIC Academy

Tawanna Patton is in her second year as principal of EPIC Academy. She is excited to serve on the Principal Advisory Council to learn from other principals and be a thought partner on the district’s educational policies and processes.

Tawanna has always aspired to be an educator. As a first generation high school and college graduate, Tawanna knows the impact that education has on the trajectory of one’s life. She was raised in the South Chicago community, where she also currently resides; and serving as a principal has allowed her to impact the lives of others in this neighborhood.

To ensure that EPIC students are prepared for post-secondary success, Tawanna and the EPIC team are working on improving differentiated instruction, increasing opportunities for student voice, and helping students develop persistence and resilience in meeting their learning goals — also known as the productive struggle.


Laura Paull

Laura Paull

Mark Twain Elementary

Laura, the principal of Mark Twain Elementary, joined the Principal Advisory Council because she believes that we must be cognizant of the impact that leadership decisions have at the school level.

Laura wanted to be a teacher ever since she was a camp counselor teaching kids to swim. She loves seeing children move from dependence and lack of confidence to independence and pride in what they achieved. Laura served as the assistant principal at Twain for 15 years. She was fortunate to work under two outstanding leaders who lived by the motto “children first” and inspired her to become a school principal focused on developing the whole child and providing every student with the best education possible.

Her focus as principal of Twain includes continuous academic improvement, expanding opportunities in the arts, and maintaining a positive school climate that helps children reach their full potential.


Terrycita Perry

Terrycita Perry

Dixon Elementary

The leader of Dixon Elementary since 2014, Terrycita joined the Principal Advisory Council to lend her voice and gain a better understanding of CPS policies and programs.

Terrycita attended CPS schools, including spending her 7th and 8th-grade years at the elementary school she now leads. She became an educator to be a lifelong advocate for children and decided to become a principal so that she would have the privilege of training Chicago’s outstanding educators.

Terrycita’s mentor throughout her career was Joan Dameron-Crissler, the principal when she was a student at Dixon Elementary. She showed her how a strong leader evokes change, and Terrycita has followed her example by increasing student growth and attainment at her alma mater.


Marilou Rebolledo

Marilou Rebolledo

Jackson Language Academy

The principal of Jackson Language Academy, Marilou joined the Principal Advisory Council to provide input on policies that impact students and school communities, and to learn from others who can help her grow as a school leader.

Marilou came to Chicago from the island of Guam to pursue her career in education. She became a principal to advocate for all students and provide them with access to high-quality instruction. A strong believer in student voice, she works to empower her students to develop the leadership skills they will need to lead successful lives.

As a principal, Marilou has prioritized building a collaborative environment with her students, staff and school community. She has also expanded after-school activities to support students’ academic, social and emotional needs. All of this has led to a consistent closing of the achievement gap among all subgroups at Jackson Language Academy.


Anthony Rodriguez

Anthony Rodriguez

Carl Schurz High School

Anthony Rodriguez is the principal of Carl Schurz High School in Chicago’s Old Irving Park neighborhood. He is proud to serve on the Principal Advisory Council and hopes to represent the voices of his fellow neighborhood high school principals.

With more than 16 years in public education, Anthony’s work as principal is fueled by his desire to ensure students have opportunities to lead healthy, happy, and impactful lives. His current focus areas include developing and supporting teacher leadership, as well as building capacity within grade level teams to provide advanced levels of social, emotional, and academic interventions for all students.


Lydia Menzer

Lydia Menzer

Chicago Academy High School

Lydia Menzer is the proud principal of Chicago Academy High School. She is honored to join the Principal Advisory Council to serve as a liaison between the principals in her network and Central Office. Lydia is also eager to have a voice in conversations about how to continue the tremendous growth being achieved in CPS high schools.

As a high school English teacher in CPS, Lydia led hear students to significant academic growth. She knew she could replicate that same success at the school-level and decided to pursue a pathway to school leadership.

This year, Lydia’s focus is to ensure that all students are receiving common social-emotional learning approaches and individualized tiered supports as necessary. Lydia has implemented instructional and behavioral strategies that have decreased discipline referrals and increased student attendance and on-track rates at every grade level.


Femi Skanes

Dr. Femi Skanes

Morgan Park High School

Dr. Femi Skanes is in her eighth year serving as the proud principal of Morgan Park High School. She is passionate about using a Multi-Tiered System of Supports framework to propel student success. Femi joined the PAC to use her expertise as a seasoned CPS administrator to promote success and provide feedback on various district initiatives. She deeply believes in the CPS mission and is honored to serve on the PAC for a second year.

After graduating with a degree in business information systems, Femi began her career as a business executive. It did not take long before she realized that education was her true calling. After just a few months of teaching, Femi’s principal encouraged her to explore the possibility of becoming a principal, and so Femi continued to hone her skills as an educator. Femi considers serving as a principal her dream job because she loves serving students, supporting teachers, collaborating with parents, and partnering with the community.

While there are many great things happening in her school community, Femi and her staff are primarily focused on ensuring that educational equity is a reality for every single Morgan Park student.


Melissa Sweazy

Melissa Sweazy

Esmeralda Santiago Charter School - Acero

Melissa Sweazy is in her ninth year as the founding principal of Esmeralda Santiago Charter School - Acero. She is serving on the PAC for a second year because she believes deeply in CPS and wants to elevate the voices of principals, teachers, and students. Melissa actively seeks opportunities to work alongside her CPS colleagues and appreciates acting as a liaison between charter schools and traditional district schools.

Melissa grew up in a rural, impoverished community downstate and recalls nearly one third of her classmates dropping out because they felt like school wasn’t meant for them. While she loved teaching in the district, she wanted to make change on a grander scale and build a school that teaches every single student that they not only belong, but are needed.

Melissa and her team at Santiago continue to focus on developing an equitable school model through multi-age classrooms, competency-based instruction, student-led conferences, mentoring, a k–8 student interest-based elective block, and much more. She is most passionate about equipping students with the skills, confidence, and social-political consciousness necessary to disrupt the status quo and exercise their voice and choice in their school, community, and beyond.


 


Cynthia Treadwell

Cynthia Treadwell

Principal of Ira F. Aldridge Elementary School

Cynthia Treadwell is currently serving in her fourth year as the Principal of Ira F. Aldridge Elementary School. As a member of the Principal Advisory Council, Cynthia hopes to be a problem solver and thought partner who can evoke change that impacts school leaders, schools, students, families, and communities.

Cynthia became an educator because she wanted to help alter the lives and outcomes of students. Her students’ love for learning fueled her passion for education and desire to become a principal. As principal, she wanted to have a greater impact not only on the lives of students and teachers, but also in the community that she served.

Cynthia’s focus as principal is to build the instructional capacity of teachers and to develop a trauma-sensitive culture that creates a safe space for students to learn.


Michael Wang

Michael Wang

The Chicago High School for the Arts

Michael (Mike) Wang serves as principal of The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts). He joined the Principal Advisory Council to share his expertise from leading a contract arts high school and give voice to the community he serves.

Originally from Chicago’s North Shore, Mike has seen first-hand the disparities prevalent in Illinois public schools. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Northeastern Illinois University, Mike pursued a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from DePaul University. He has dedicated his work as principal to providing equal access to resources in the arts and academics.

ChiArts provides a nationally recognized college preparatory and rigorous pre-professional arts training program. Mike’s priorities include providing tolerance-based, restorative, and trauma-informed practices that meet the needs of each of his scholar-artists.

Katherine Arbuckle

Katherine Arbuckle

Like many future educators, Katherine played school as a young child and never let anyone else be the teacher. She developed a passion for urban education while a student at Butler University and believes that every child is capable of success if given the equitable education they deserve.

Katherine currently serves as a first-grade teacher at Mitchell Elementary School. She is passionate about the importance of arts education, integrating music into her classroom, and directing the annual musical at her school.

During her time on the Teacher Advisory Council, Katherine hopes to develop her leadership skills and help influence positive change throughout the district. She is eager to learn from her colleagues and looks forward to tackling issues that can improve the experience of all children.


Nicole Clair

Nicole Clair

Nicole has been a teacher for the past 11 years, but it was not her first career. She started out in television news and was moved by the stories she covered involving CPS students. She made the decision to leave the news desk for the classroom with the goal of impacting, educating, and inspiring Chicago’s youth.

Nicole currently serves as a special education teacher at Burnham Math and Science Academy. She also serves as a member of the school’s Instructional Leadership Team and is the lead for restorative practices and the MTSS and Behavioral Health Team. Nicole believes passionately in the potential of her students and feels most rewarded when children master content and are excited about learning.

Nicole joined the Teacher Advisory Council to broaden her leadership skills and help launch critical initiatives that will improve the experience of CPS students and teachers. She hopes to grow into an administrator who specializes in supporting students with diverse learning needs.


Maggie Cramer

Maggie Cramer

Maggie’s desire to teach arose from her own love of learning. She never tires of finding meaning in poetry, narrative, and art, and she wants to share that joy every day with her students.

Maggie currently teaches 9th grade English at George Westinghouse College Prep in Garfield Park. She is inspired daily by Westinghouse’s cohesive school community and commitment to providing students with a rigorous and well-rounded education that is rooted in data.

Through her time at Westinghouse, Maggie has learned about the power of teacher leadership from the innovative and dedicated educators that surround her. She hopes to bring that energy to the Teacher Advisory Council, with the belief that real change springs from passionate individuals working together.


Cornell Davis

Cornell Davis

Master Sergeant Cornell Davis is a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Army who has a passion for working with youth and helping them find their personal identity. He values his time in front of students and sees his teaching as an opportunity to reflect, grow, and be a better resource for his students, colleagues, and community.

Cornell began his teaching career in 2008 and currently serves as a JROTC instructor at Steinmetz College Prep High School. He works to motivate his students to become better citizens and routinely collaborates with his colleagues in the CPS JROTC network to improve instruction and practice.

Cornell joined the Teacher Advisory Council to help ensure that district-wide plans and policies are data driven and include input from classroom teachers.


Joy Dickson

Joy Dickson

Joy has been an educator for more than 20 years, working in Chicago, Boston, Japan and China. She has served children as a classroom teacher, an instructional coach, and a department chair and enjoys training and inspiring people to achieve their career and educational goals.

Joy currently serves as a teacher in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program at Simeon Career Academy. She has also served as a history teacher at Simeon and as a faculty member in the school’s Teaching Academy.

Joy’s teaching experiences and desire to advocate for students is what inspired her to join the Teacher Advisory Council.


Ernesto Garza

Ernesto Garza

Ernesto became a teacher because he knows that a quality education changes lives and believes that every student deserves teachers who are dedicated to high-quality instruction and growth.

Ernesto teaches 11th and 12th-grade English at the Noble Academy. A former participant in the Golden Apple Scholars Program, he is dedicated to increasing postsecondary success by growing student confidence, cultivating student voice, and creating a culture where students take ownership of their learning and achievements.

Ernesto joined the Teacher Advisory Council to collaborate with other teacher leaders in the hope of creating positive change.


Andrea Gordon

Andrea Gordon

From the time she was a child, Andrea knew she wanted to become a teacher. She wants all students to have a safe and supportive environment in which to learn, and she works to foster a love of learning that children can take with them when they leave her classroom.

Andrea has been a teacher for 20 years, six of them with CPS. She currently teaches 5th and 6th grade students at Edgebrook Elementary School, where she is also a case manager. Her leadership roles outside the classroom include serving as a member of Edgebrook’s Local School Council and as a founding member of the school’s Behavioral Health Team.

Andrea joined the Teacher Advisory Council to work with teachers across CPS and to influence change district-wide.


Ronald Hale

Ronald Hale

A proud graduate of CPS schools, Ronald views teaching as both a science and an art. He sees education as a holistic profession where all aspects of a student’s learning environment should be considered when helping them find their voice and place in the world.

Ronald currently serves as a teacher at Hayt Elementary School where he is focused on inquiry methods that boost critical thinking and creativity. He specializes in early STEM education and social learning. He is also working on evidence-based research projects to help design classrooms of the future and encourage children to use their natural curiosity as a vehicle for directing learning and establishing respect for all things and all people.

Ronald joined the Teacher Advisory Council to influence policies that will help students reach their full potential in environments that are safe and encourage risk-taking and the sharing of ideas.


Dayna Heller

Dayna Heller

Dayna became a teacher to expand access and opportunity for Chicago’s most vulnerable children. She is inspired by the talent and resiliency of her students and feels lucky to be able to work with young people every day.

Dayna currently serves as a special education teacher at Sullivan High School and specializes in English and reading instruction. The compassion, humor, and curiosity of her students is what inspires Dayna to continue growing as a teacher.

Dayna joined the Teacher Advisory Council to collaborate with her colleagues and generate creative solutions that will improve outcomes for students. She also feels that the perspective of teachers is vital to the areas of policy and problem solving.


Kat Henry

Kat Henry

For Kat, school was always a place that celebrated individuals and provided enticement for what the world had to offer. She felt empowered as a student and became a teacher to bring that same sense of inclusivity and possibility to student populations who might not believe that they can succeed in school.

Kat currently serves as a special education teacher at Pulaski Elementary School. She works to provide instruction that cultivates students’ innate talents, honors their interests, and ultimately teaches them to be self-determined and self-actualized. She loves observing the gradual yet powerful shift of a student being a passive player in their own learning to becoming self-aware, self-regulating, and able to self-advocate.

Kat joined the Teacher Advisory Council to meet others who share her values but challenge her thinking, hoping that together they can advocate for the holistic needs of students. She welcomes the opportunity to work with divergently-thinking, solutions-orientated professionals who share her passion for education.


Sara Ivory

Sara Ivory

Sara was drawn to a career in education by her lifelong love of learning. She is incessantly curious and always eager for new challenges. She has been inspired by countless teachers, leaders, and researchers to challenge the status quo in an effort to enhance the experience of her students.

Sara is the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP) Coordinator for the Ogden International School of Chicago. She was exposed to international schools during eight years living abroad and has since been committed to this inquiry-based, student-driven, globally-minded framework. She now works with teachers and students in all 35 of Ogden’s K-5 classrooms, spending her days co-planning, co-teaching, and coaching.

Sara joined the Teacher Advisory Council after actively supporting the consolidation of Ogden and Jenner Academy of the Arts. Her hope is to work with other education professionals to continue the discussion around equitable access to high-quality programming for all of Chicago’s students.


Ryan Jacobi

Ryan Jacobi

It was his love of reading that inspired Ryan to become a teacher. He spent two years volunteering with AmeriCorps and now teaches Kindergarten and 1st grade at Ravenswood Elementary School.

Ryan is passionate about early childhood education because he feels that this influential time can shape the trajectory of a student’s entire academic experience. He feels there is no greater joy than seeing the excitement of early readers after experiencing a new book together.

Ryan joined the Teacher Advisory Council to expand his thinking about public education and the challenges facing schools in all of Chicago’s neighborhoods, including issues of race and equity. He also hopes to discover how the educational philosophy at Ravenswood aligns with policies being created at the district level.


Rivanna Jihan

Rivanna Jihan

Rivanna didn’t choose teaching. It chose her. Throughout her youth, no matter what she was doing, Rivanna always seemed to be teaching others. That led to a college degree in History and a career in education, the last eight years of which have been spent at Simeon Career Academy.

Rivanna is happiest when she is teaching and enjoys working with teenagers. She also has a passion for discussing pedagogy, creating new curriculum, and reflecting on her own practice, which is what drove her to become a National Board Certified Teacher.

Rivanna joined the Teacher Advisory Council to help shape policy that impacts both teaching and workplace conditions. She is particularly interested in teacher retention, as she wants to find new ways of encouraging her colleagues to remain in this important field.


Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson

Andrew became a teacher because he believes that equitable access to education is the foundation of democracy. He enjoys having intellectual conversations with students and seeing them grow into thoughtful people who are willing to be challenged and who can challenge others intellectually.

Andrew teaches in the Social Science Department at Westinghouse College Prep. He also helps lead the college counseling program, as he believes that all teachers can play a positive role in shaping students’ postsecondary pathways.

Now entering the third decade of his teaching career, Andrew aspires to help transform the way CPS high schools prepare students and families for the transition to college. Andrew joined the Teacher Advisory Council to learn more about district-wide issues and help shape future policy considerations.


Carla Jones

Carla Jones

Carla has worked in the field of education for 17 years and draws her inspiration from seeing her students grow academically, socially, and emotionally.

Carla is a National Board Certified Teacher at Cook Elementary School. She believes that there is nothing better than seeing her students, and former students, grow and develop a sense of self.

Carla’s goals include widening her impact of influence in the field of education. She joined the Teacher Advisory Council to bring the voice of south side teachers to the forefront and share her experiences implementing district initiatives.


Katie Jones-Espinales

Katie Jones-Espinales

Katie became a teacher because she wanted a career where her day-to-day impact would improve the lives of others. She loves having the opportunity to help children find their talents and confidence. Katie works to expose them to new ideas and experiences while showing them the beauty and power of language.

Katie serves as an English teacher at Lincoln Park High School and is passionate about equity and culturally responsive teaching.

She joined the Teacher Advisory Council to connect with thoughtful and engaged teachers from across the district and to make a connection between district initiatives and her own work.


Cynthia Juarez

Cynthia Juarez

Cynthia had a fifth grade teacher who believed that she, an English Learner, had the potential to become a strong reader who was successful in the classroom. That experience inspired Cynthia to become a teacher who provides all students with the supports they need to thrive.

A National Board Certified Teacher and reading specialist, Cynthia teaches kindergarten at Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz Classical and STEAM Elementary School. She is passionate about social-emotional learning and instills self-confidence and personal development by teaching students to understand their identity, accept others, and maintain a growth mindset.

Cynthia joined the Teacher Advisory Council to impact student learning and help develop policies that support the growth and development of social-emotional learning for both students and teachers. She also hopes to build her leadership capacity, as her professional aspiration is to become a school principal.


Shamika Keepers

Shamika Keepers

Shamika always knew that she would be an educator. She can recall every teacher she ever had, and their impact is what inspired her to make a difference in the lives of future generations.

Shamika is currently a kindergarten teacher at Bronzeville Classical School. She works to educate young learners so that they can become their best and brightest selves, and she strives to provide young children with the foundation they need to flourish academically, socially and emotionally.

Shamika joined the Teacher Advisory Council to affect change for Chicago’s youth beyond her own classroom. She is excited to bring her perspective to senior leadership and collaborate with teachers across the district.


Rita Leary

Rita Leary

Working as a student docent in the Geology Museum at the University of Wisconsin, Rita learned the value of inquiry and how it sparks the minds of young learners.

Rita is a science and social science teacher for middle school students at Ashburn Community Elementary School. The connections she has made with students, their families, and her colleagues have made her treasure her career as an educator.

Rita joined the teacher advisory council to learn more about leadership in CPS and to extend her influence beyond her classroom and school to the district at large. She hopes that all CPS teachers can feel proud and supported as they serve the students of Chicago.


Samantha Mann

Samantha Mann

Samantha’s was inspired by her mother, a special education teacher, to pursue a career in teaching. She works to ensure that all students have equal access to a quality high school education and that they are prepared for success in college and career.

For six years, Samantha has worked in schools that are designed to bridge the opportunity gap that remains for students of color, for children with disabilities, and for other diverse learners. She currently serves as a 12th-grade learning specialist at Muchin College Prep, and her favorite experiences are what she calls the “ah-ha” moments – times when her students grasp a concept and begin to build their confidence.

Samantha joined the Teacher Advisory Council to expand her work beyond the students she serves and impact her community on a broader scale.


Cathleen Martin

Cathleen Martin

Cathleen was inspired to enter the field of education by a combination of factors: her love for history, her experiences as an African American student, and her desire to close the achievement gap.

Cathleen is a history teacher at Jones College Prep. She sees history as a means of helping students gain a sense of self. She also believes that students will be able to better serve themselves in the future if they have strong command of the past. Cathleen is committed to being a leader in the area of global studies and hopes to publish her own high school curriculum in Middle Eastern Studies.

Cathleen joined the Teacher Advisory Council because she is passionate about the success of CPS students. She looks forward to contributing to solutions that will build on the district’s many successes.


Jaime McLaughlin

Jaime McLaughlin

Jaime was inspired to become an educator by his father, an administrator and National Hall of Fame wrestling coach. He observed the passion and dedication his father brought to his career and sought to follow in his footsteps.

Jaime is a 5th grade mathematics teacher at Chavez Multicultural Academic Center. In addition to helping his students make gains in the classroom, Jamie teaches his students how to be agents of change in their school communities, city, and beyond.

Jaime joined the Teacher Advisory Council to address the issue of equity while working alongside other like-minded teachers.


Dan Monaghan

Dan Monaghan

Dan did not have an easy time as a student, often resisting the teachers and authority figures who tried to unleash his potential. After attending a restorative practice conference with his high school principal, Dan was inspired to build relationships and connect with students who feel disconnected from their schools.

Dan is an English teacher, 12th grade dean, and spoken word poetry coach at the Noble Network’s DRW College Prep in Lawndale. Most recently, Dan has been focused on developing and implementing standards-based proficiency rubrics. He hopes to empower students with the skills needed to persist to and through college and career success.

Dan joined the Teacher Advisory Council to collaborate with teachers across Chicago to ensure educational equity for all students.


Megan Plante

Megan Plante

Megan became an educator seventeen years ago as a part of the Inner-City Teaching Corps. She wanted to provide students in the inner-city with the high quality education she received in the suburbs of Detroit.

Megan is a 3rd and 4th-grade mathematics teacher at Esmeralda Santiago Acero School. She strives to empower her students to be deep thinkers, good communicators, compassionate leaders, and problem solvers. She uses peer mediation and community circles to help foster community and leadership in the classroom. Watching her students grow as a team fuels her passion for elementary education.

Megan joined the Teacher Advisory Council because she is passionate about providing a high quality education to all students in Chicago. She wants to work with other passionate educators to help Chicago’s schools be everything the students deserve them to be.


Halle Quezada

Halle Quezada

Before becoming an educator, Halle majored in neuroscience and worked in labs studying the neural basis of both learning disabilities and bilingualism. She uses the research in this area, alongside Montessori’s philosophy, to inform her practice and provide a stimulating environment that instills a love of learning, a connection to culture, and a clear sense of purpose for every child.

A teacher at Suder Montessori Magnet School, Halle believes that a sincere conviction in the promise of children transforms the social duty of an educator into a mission. She sees herself as a consultant in each child’s journey of self-discovery and looks forward to following her students’ contributions to humanity.

Halle joined the Teacher Advisory Council in pursuit of her mission to better the world for children and equip them to better the world for future generations.


Sarah Reardon

Sarah Reardon

Sarah became an educator because teaching provides opportunities to build community, advocate for social justice, foster literacy, support students and families, and engage her curiosity about the world and people.

Sarah teaches 4th grade departmentalized literacy and social studies at Casals School of Excellence. She strives to integrate service learning into her classroom and create authentic opportunities for real-world application. Watching students take ownership of their learning is the most rewarding part of teaching for Sarah.

Sarah joined the Teacher Advisory Council to support and advocate for her school community. She is proud to join a citywide, collaborative, and problem-solving community that is committed to improving our schools.


John Roseboom

John Roseboom

John became a teacher to foster an environment where students of all backgrounds can find a place to learn, create, and perform music.

John is a veteran music educator and serves as Director of Bands at North-Grand High School. His ensembles regularly earn the highest ratings at adjudicated music competitions, and he hopes to become part of a district leadership or curriculum team to help other teachers and school leaders foster the arts.

John joined the Teacher Advisory Council to bring his sixteen years of teaching in rural, suburban, and urban school districts across the country to the table as the Council takes on challenges that face our students and communities every day.


Katie Styzek

Katie Styzek

Katie chose the field of education because she wanted to work in a career focused on serving others. She values the relationships she has formed with students and colleagues and is constantly impressed by the drive, passion, and kindness of her students.

Katie served as a middle school teacher for four years prior to becoming a school counselor. She currently works as a counselor at Alessandro Volta Elementary School, and her favorite part of her role is working with students to develop a path that will enable them to achieve their goals.

Katie joined the Teacher Advisory Council because she enjoys being inspired by and learning from other teachers in the district. She believes that schools have the power to transform communities and looks forward to collaborating with educators and district leaders to make a positive impact.


Jami Tillis

Jami Tillis

A proud graduate of CPS schools, Jami spent her young adult life wondering how she could better her city while helping children become the best versions of themselves. This dream, along with the CPS teachers who taught her the value of a good education, inspired Jamie to become a teacher.

Jami is a 6th-grade language arts teacher at Phillip Rogers Elementary School. She loves seeing her students grow academically and emotionally while in her classroom. Her future goal is to support teachers and students as an assistant principal in CPS.

Jami joined the Teacher Advisory Council to gain leadership experience while working with a team of teachers who are mutually invested in the success of the district. She is passionate about hiring and retaining excellent teachers and providing a quality public education for Chicago’s children.


Yvette Vazquez

Yvette Vazquez

Yvette was inspired to become an educator by her mother, whose own teachers instilled in her a belief in community and the knowledge that education is key to developing the future leaders of tomorrow.

Yvette currently serves as a world language Spanish teacher at DeVry University Advantage Academy High School. She enjoys learning alongside her students and is constantly inspired by the perspective they bring to the classroom.

Yvette joined the Teacher Advisory Council because she is passionate about supporting equity across Chicago and providing students with a holistic education that extends beyond the classroom.


Matt Vonderheide

Matt Vonderheide

Matt was inspired to become a teacher after a summer working as a zoo camp instructor opened his eyes to an undiscovered passion. He is inspired by the creativity of children.

Matt is a computer science teacher and the CTE department chair at Curie High School. As an educator, he enjoys finding new and innovative ways to engage students in learning, channel their creative strengths, and improve their problem solving skills.

Matt joined the Teacher Advisory Council to learn from his colleagues and address policy change on a broader scale.


Nicole Zumpano

Dustin Voss

During his sophomore year of college, at the urging of one of his professors, Dustin audited a high school English class in a CPS school. The teacher he observed inspired him to pursue a career in education. Ever since, Dustin has been committed to the field and believes that a strong public education is the foundation of a healthy democracy.

Dustin teaches at Fenger Academy High School. His favorite part of teaching is seeing children realize their potential, make their own choices, and bring their unique talents and perspective to their community.

Dustin joined the Teacher Advisory Council to share his perspective and provide feedback at a systemic level.


Abi Wilberding

Abi Wilberding

Before becoming a teacher, Abi worked at a non-profit where she empowered refugee girls through teaching responsive curriculum. Abi's experiences creating curriculum and running an after-school program abroad inspired her to become an educator and shaped her passion for making learning authentic.

Abi currently teaches English at Von Steuben Metropolitan High School. Deeply passionate about progressive models of education and responsive instruction, Abi is grateful for the moments when students gain autonomy and learning becomes real.

Abi joined the Teacher Advisory Council to connect with active leaders working to give students and teachers a voice in policy. She hopes to assist in developing programs and policies that support teachers and students around issues of equity.

Page Last Modified on Thursday, February 13, 2020