Michelle Willis

Gillespie Elementary School

Dr. Michelle R. Willis is the proud principal of Gillespie Elementary School. She has served as the school’s instructional leader since April 2007, when she was asked to assume the principalship of Gillespie. By employing her mantra of never-ending, continuous improvement, the school has received numerous network academic and competition awards over the past six years, including the 2011 State of Illinois School Improvement Award and the 2012 CPS Technology Innovation Award. Most recently, in August 2013, Michelle was one of the principals who received the CPS Principal Recognition Award for outstanding student achievement.

Michelle started her career at CPS in 1993 as a classroom teacher. Believing in the potential of each child led her to teaching. The satisfaction of maximizing each student’s potential initially in the classroom and now in the entire school is fulfilling and worthwhile. She has served as a reading specialist, assistant principal and principal. In 2004, she was selected as the principal of Nia Middle and Foundations Elementary Schools (two small schools housed in the same building), which also received numerous CPS academic awards. Michelle is also is a proud product of the Chicago Public Schools. She is a graduate of Whitney Young Magnet H.S. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin, two Masters Degrees in Education- Teaching of Reading and Educational Administration from Chicago State University and a Doctor of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Loyola University Chicago.

Michelle saw the EAC as an excellent opportunity to collaborate with other educators and assist in championing the numerous challenges that exist in schools in Chicago. She joined the EAC  to share her experiences and be part of the solution that will impact the students in the city of Chicago.