Education professionals – like the 33 dedicated individuals in the Chicago Principals Fellowship and Cahn Fellows Program in Chicago – deserve a ticker-tape parade. But they’re all too busy keeping their schools running to spend a day getting confetti thrown at them – so we took them to breakfast last Friday, and asked them about their work, what they’ve been doing in their schools, and how The Fund continues to help them serve and inspire teachers, students and parents in Chicago.
In the room, listening to CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice Jackson talk about the essential role principals play as a resource for everyone involved in the lives of our schools, it was easy to see energy and optimism in the faces of folks who provide some of The Fund’s financial support, as well as members of Chicago’s education community – and, of course, the individuals whose passion we were there to celebrate.
In smaller groups, Fellows seated at each table were encouraged to talk about their projects from the past year, and what The Fund’s support in their development has meant to them, and their schools. Focus, motivation, and a sense of support and community was a common theme.
“The experiences The Fund provide keep me going,” Principal Serena Peterson-Klosa said. “Every day, I make the turn off of Harlem and I think, ‘That’s my building, those are my kids, that’s my school.’ We’re not going to make this district any better unless we’re part of the solution.”
“The Fund is the biggest advocate for principals in the city of Chicago,” said Principal Chad Weiden.
At the end of this challenging school year, even with budget battles looming and more to come – in that room, over toast and coffee – it was easy to get excited about what Chicago’s schoolkids can look forward to, led by principals like these.
Congratulations, Fellows. We’re proud of what you do, every day.