Konstantinos (Dean) Patsiopoulos is entering his sixth year as the principal of Charles N. Holden Elementary School (Holden), where he has led an impressive transformation in school culture, instructional rigor and academic achievement. In his first year as principal, Holden sat at a Level 3 on the district’s School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP), the lowest possible rating. Many of the foundational systems that make a school successful were lacking and needed to be rebuilt from the ground up. Over the next few years, Dean worked relentlessly to strengthen and redevelop the school environment. He introduced new structures that focused on open communication, honest self-assessment, professional collaboration, differentiated and ongoing professional learning, and instilled a philosophy throughout school staff that put academics as the highest priority. He supported teachers in the development of effective instructional practices through professional learning and by providing new instructional resources and technology for all classrooms.
Dean’s deliberate efforts worked. Holden’s performance on Teacher Collaboration and Teacher Trust, as measured on the UEI 5Essentials Survey, rose from Weak in the 2012-13 school year to Strong in the 2015-16 school year. Under Dean’s leadership, Holden also rose from its previous Level 3 status to achieve Level 1+ status during the 2015-16 school year as well.
To sustain this progress, Dean will continue to push instruction to higher grounds, focusing on balanced literacy instruction for grades kindergarten through fourth with emphasis on supporting English Language and Diverse Learners. He also plans to continue supporting teachers with professional learning that will strengthen instructional practices to meet the demands of raising student achievement. Above all, what drives Dean most is increasing the percentage of eighth grade students being accepted to top selective enrollment high schools. Dean is proud of the fact that on-average, 23 percent of each graduating class has gained acceptance into a top selective enrollment high school during his tenure. Previously, in 2012, no Holden students were accepted into selective enrollment high schools.
Dean is a proud product of CPS, having attended Jamieson Elementary School and Lane Tech High School from kindergarten through high school. After graduating from Northeastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in history and elementary education, Dean taught middle school math and science at Beethoven Elementary School. This paved the way for his first leadership role, where Dean served as a curriculum coordinator for Aldridge Elementary School and led the math and science programs. Recognizing the broader reach and impact of school leadership, Dean pursued his master’s degree in educational administration and leadership at Concordia University. In 2012, he became the assistant principal at Holden Elementary School and shortly afterwards, accepted the role of principal.
Through the Fellowship, Dean is looking forward to engaging in deeper organizational management and leadership-focused learning to maximize his capacity to lead and serve. He is excited to engage directly with top CPS leadership as well as other strong Chicago principals in an effort to effect change on a larger scale.