In 2010, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) appointed July Cyrwus to open Federico Garcia Lorca Elementary School (Lorca) based on her proven transformational leadership capabilities. Within five years, Lorca attained Level 1+, the highest level for School Quality, due to 90 percent student growth. July established multiple partnerships with universities, Cook County’s Lawyers in the Classroom, the Museum of Science & Industry and The Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund) to ensure students are well-equipped with skills and tools to thrive in the 21st Century. Lorca also participates in CPS programs, including Computer Science for All, Personal Learning and Robotics Team.
Participation in both The Fund’s Summer Design Program and Breakthrough Schools: Chicago truly anchored Lorca to a whole-school personalized learning model. July and her exemplary team consistently analyze emerging trends in education technology and strategically use available resources to promote a culture of excellence. Lorca teachers continually adapt their classrooms to allow students to guide and pace their own learning while also creating a forum for collaborative discussion.
July received her bachelor’s degree in English from University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and her certification in Secondary Education in English from Northeastern Illinois University. As the Staff Developer and AP Language & Composition teacher at Mather High School (1996-2004), July coordinated the Annenberg Foundation grant to create a culture of inquiry through Senior Portfolios, an authentic learning experience requiring an in-depth action research project and graduation by exhibition. After she achieved her National Board Certification in English Language Arts, July completed her Masters in School Leadership from Concordia University.
As a 2016-17 Cahn Fellow with Columbia University’s Teacher College, July will pursue a variety of pathways to get to the heart of her passion project: How do we create an environment to foster an innovative culture and community of learners? July firmly believes that school-wide collaboration is essential to growth mindset and inspiring leadership. She leverages relational trust and distributive leadership to deepen teacher expertise and enhance professional learning. July acknowledges and values the varying levels of experience among her faculty members and challenges them to acquire new skills.