Courtney Mix-Binish is entering her fourth year as the principal of Bartolomé de las Casas (Casas), an elementary school in the Acero Charter Schools network. Under her leadership, Casas has consistently achieved Level 1+ status on the district’s School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP). Courtney is also proud of the strong relationships she has forged with parents and third party organizations. While principal, she established a Casas parent team called the Crusading POMS, founded the Pilsen Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, and initiated new partnerships with Ravinia Festival through the REACH*TEACH*PLAY program for musical education and the Museum of Science and Industry. Across all of these accomplishments, Courtney credits the hard work and perseverance of her school team.
In the upcoming school year, Courtney will be focused on fostering the right environment for teacher leadership. She recognizes the incredible knowledge and experience of the teachers at Casas, and hopes to create a learning community that will make teachers feel safe taking risks to grow as educators and advocates for their students.
For as long as she can remember, Courtney wanted to become an educator. After graduating from National Louis University with a bachelor’s in elementary education and specialization in psychology, Courtney started her career as a substitute teacher in the Northwest Chicago suburbs. This experience led to a full-time teaching position in the suburbs, after which Courtney decided to transition to teaching the third and fifth grades at CICS – Longwood in Chicago. At the same time, she acquired her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Saint Xavier University and began supporting CICS – Longwood as an instructional coach. She continued her education with a master’s degree in educational leadership through Saint Xavier University and accepted a master teacher position with Acero Charter Schools, which combined the responsibilities of an assistant principal and an instructional coach. After one year, Courtney transitioned into her current role as principal and became a doctoral candidate through National Louis University for a degree in educational leadership, with an emphasis on policy advocacy and a superintendent license.
Courtney believes that every individual has a voice and opportunity to impact change in education. Having recently completed coursework around policy advocacy, she is growing in her understanding and appreciation for how education can be impacted from a policy level. Courtney is looking forward to learning more about district policy through the Fellowship experience, as well as interacting with her peer group to gain insight into areas of education beyond her own personal experience.