My entire career has hinged on developing students into innovative thinkers, effective communicators, and courageous, strategic implementers of ideas to change their own lives, their communities, and the world at large. As a school leader, it is my mission to guarantee a learning environment that provides a high-quality, comprehensive education that ensures college and career readiness through rigorous academic programming with emphasis on the value of humanity and self-potential.
In my time at Rich South, we have made some remarkable progress. Our average daily attendance increased from 85% to 88%, student disciplinary infractions decreased by 25%, and the freshman on-track rate rose from 74% to 90%. We have also demonstrated increased positive results on our school climate survey. Our students’ growth on standardized test was the highest in the district. We are now ranked among the top high schools in the state.
Prior to my appointment to Rich South High School, I had the opportunity to provide transformational leadership as the principal of Hirsch Metropolitan High School. When I accepted the principal role at Hirsch, I inherited the lowest performing high school in Chicago Public Schools. In my first year as principal, Hirsch experienced the most growth in school quality rating score of all Chicago Public Schools. Under my administration, a school once deemed a “drop-out factory” now has a dropout rate of less than 2%. According to the 5 Essentials Survey, Hirsch went from “not yet organized’ to “well organized.” The school’s daily attendance rate made incremental growth over a four-year period, and under my administration, Hirsch reached over 80% attendance for the first time in recent years. In 2016, Hirsch increased college enrollment by 13.6 percentage points which was the second highest increase of all CPS high schools. Hirsch also saw the greatest decrease in the one-year drop-out rate of any high school in CPS. Freshman on-track rates climbed tremendously. The school moved from 51.7% on-track to more than 90% on-track, the greatest increase of any CPS high school. For the first time in 9 years, Hirsch transitioned from a level 3 rated school to a level 2 rating. Under my leadership, Hirsch High School experienced its most successful three years of the last decade.
I had the distinct privilege of serving as the resident principal at Peace & Education Coalition Alternative High, a program for off-track, at-risk, and dropout students. There, I discovered how to re-engage students who were unsuccessful in the traditional high school setting. By creating a culture where every day matters, 100% of our seniors graduated, nearly 80% of all students met STAR assessment goals, credit attainment is at 74%, attendance has increased by 10%, and code of conduct violations were fewer than 11%. Through a series of professional development, I have trained faculty to deliver instruction that required students to think critically, struggle productively, engage in authentic discussion, and apply learning to real life situations.
At Marine Leadership Academy, I led the freshman team in achieving the greatest EXPLORE gains in the school’s history with our students scoring in the 97th growth percentile city-wide. I focused on aligning curricula as much as possible to increase consistency between content areas using the ACT College Readiness Standards. This allowed for greater interdisciplinary collaboration between teachers. With students working on aligned skills throughout the day, the students were able to better retain information and demonstrate significant improvement in skills. Over 80% of the students met growth targets.
My focus on students and student success has made me an effective school leader. I am proud to serve the families of Rich South High School. There are amazing things on the horizon, and our potential is limitless. Rich South is a place where children’s dreams become their reality.