Allison Tingwall is entering her third year as the principal of Marie Sklodowska Curie Metropolitan High School (Curie). In her first two years, Allison led drastic improvements in the school’s academic foundations by developing a robust Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) to drive collaborative professional learning and position students for success early-on. She has also strengthened the learning environment by reducing high-level student behavior infractions and securing almost $30 million in necessary capital and facility improvements.
Allison describes the current setting as an exciting and pivotal phase of growth for Curie. She plans to build on the strength of her ILT by engaging members in lesson study as a tool to drive practice changes and continuous improvement. In addition, all 189 Curie teachers will examine their grading practices during the 2017-18 school year while about 40 teachers participate in a standards-based grading pilot. Improving Freshman On-Track will continue to be a priority and a mechanism through which Curie can continue to improve its graduation, college enrollment, and college persistence rates.
The beginning of Allison’s career in education took place during her undergraduate years at the University of Michigan. While serving as a tutor through the Asociación Latina Alcanzando Sueños, she met a young immigrant man from Guatemala who had difficulty navigating the public school system. After helping him to attain his GED, Allison promptly decided to switch her career path from engineering to education. She received a master’s degree in instructional leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and certifications to teach in math, Spanish, and English as a Second Language (ESL). She began her first teaching position at North Lawndale College Prep and gradually increased her presence at the school as she began to think about students’ educational experiences more comprehensively. Within a few years, Allison began serving as the Chair of the Spanish department and spent her evenings as an adjunct lecturer in curriculum, instruction, and assessment at UIC. Her acceptance into the Urban Education Leadership Program at UIC led to her resident principal position at Back of the Yards College Prep in the 2014-15 school year, before she transitioned to her current role at Curie.
Allison believes that developing the organizational structures of the school to support distributed leadership and continuous professional learning will improve student outcomes. As the principal of a large high school, with 2,922 students and over 270 staff members, Allison is eager to further her learning through the Fellowship program. She looks forward to building a new professional support network and learning how to be a more effective instructional leader.