Rashid Shabazz is entering his fifth year as principal of James Wadsworth Elementary School (Wadsworth), where he has led an impressive transformation in academic outcomes and the school environment. Under his leadership, Wadsworth improved from Level 3 to Level 1+ status on the district’s School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP). Rashid secured over $1.5 million dollars in funding to provide students with a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) inspired outdoor space for teaching, learning and structured play. He also implemented a Mandarin Chinese program for sixth through eighth graders, and participated in a visit to China as a principal delegate to understand best practices for enhancing Chinese language programs in American schools.
In the upcoming school year, Rashid plans to complete the application process to become a National Blue Ribbon School. He also hopes to become a certified STEM school while continuing to expand the Mandarin Chinese program, and give all students in kindergarten through fifth grade the opportunity to learn Chinese.
Rashid took a unique path to the principal role. As a young child, he dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player, and pursued this goal throughout high school. At the same time, however, Rashid never compromised on his education and became the first member of his family to graduate from college, with a bachelor’s degree in education from Central State University. After graduation, he continued pursuing his dream of becoming a professional basketball player until the fateful day that a college teammate of his accepted an assistant principal position in Chicago. Rashid joined his teammate to teach at the school, and quickly received recognition for his aptitude for helping students learn and for leading others to do the same. At the urge of many colleagues, Rashid began the process to become a principal and received his doctorate degree in urban educational leadership from the University of Cincinnati.
Rashid is committed to meeting and transcending the academic and social development needs of all learners whom he encounters. Throughout his administrative career, Rashid has demonstrated his ability to form effective professional partnerships among diverse facets of the educational community, including students; parents; educators; staff and administrators; community leaders and auxiliary stakeholders.