Teaching and Learning
Annette Gurley has been in her current role with CPS since January 2013, but her history with the District stretches back to her childhood, when she attended CPS schools on Chicago’s west side and then began teaching at Michelle Clark Middle School in 1985.
Beginning as a substitute teacher, Annette spent 22 years at Michelle Clark, serving as a middle school teacher, teacher facilitator, and assistant principal before eventually being named principal. She often remarks on how she grew along with the school, and counts its transformation from a struggling neighborhood school to the District’s only all-in-one IB school for grades 6-12 as among the most amazing experiences of her educational career.
As Chief of Teaching and Learning, Annette works to develop talent within CPS, providing opportunities for educators to receive professional development outside the walls of their individual schools while helping to keep them abreast of the latest trends and methods in education. She holds a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a M.A. in Reading from Chicago State University, and a M.A. in Educational Administration from Concordia College.
Q. What excites you most about your work and the contribution you can make at CPS?
A. At my core, I am always a teacher. I left the classroom a while ago, but that just means that I changed my audience from students to colleagues. I want to effect positive change by teaching and modeling best practices for all educators, giving them the chance to develop their talents by practicing new ways of getting results in the classroom.
Q. Who has been the biggest influence on your decision to work as an educator?
A. Marietta Skyles-Beverly, the former principal of Michelle Clark. She taught me and my fellow teachers that if students are to have a chance at achieving something great, you must first expose them to all that is out there. She believed that we had to give the students something to strive for, and her attitude transformed our school.
Q. What are you passionate about personally?
A. My family. My two older sisters, my nephews, and my son, Gregory, who recently got engaged. And of course my granddog, Cane – a white Boxer who goes to dog obedience school a couple times a week and is often put in Time Out.
Q. What would you say is your most prized possession?
A. My mom passed away in 2007, and I keep one of her scarves in my car. It’s not expensive or anything – it just smells like her perfume, and sometimes I need that sense of her near me.
Q. How would you want to be remembered for your work at CPS?
A. I want to be remembered for my professional passion, which is convincing others that they can do much more than they believe is possible.
- Favorite Sports Team: Chicago Bulls
- Favorite Leisure Activity: Travel
- Favorite Musical Style: Jazz
- Favorite Spot in Chicago: Museum of Science and Industry
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