Shirley Scott is entering her 15th year as the principal of Edward K. “Duke” Ellington Elementary School (Ellington), where she has led a transformative improvement in academic outcomes, and received recognition at the local and state-level for the school’s achievements. Notably, Ellington received the Illinois State Honor Roll Award for “improvement in academics,” the Illinois State Award of Excellence for “outstanding improvement in percentage of students meeting ISAT science and mathematics standards” and an award from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for “highest value-added in the Austin North Lawndale network.” Under Shirley’s leadership, Ellington grew from a Level 3 to Level 1/1+ school on the district’s School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) and consistently maintained this rating over the past five years.
Moving forward, Shirley hopes to continue maintaining Ellington’s Level 1+ SQRP rating. It is her belief that to be an effective leader, she must fully mobilize and use the skills of her team to achieve this goal.
Specifically, Shirley plans to continue including teacher voice in the decision-making process, to increase the number of teacher leaders in her building and to encourage the use of data-driven, effective instruction to facilitate student achievement.
Shirley is a Chicago native and a proud product of CPS, where she attended elementary and high school. She received a bachelor’s degree in special education from Roosevelt University, a master’s degree in special education from National Louis University and a master’s in administration from Northeastern Illinois University. She then continued her education by receiving an educationalist specialist degree from Roosevelt University. Shirley began her career in education as an elementary school teacher. After 14 years of teaching, she became the assistant principal at Frazier Elementary School, where she honed her skills as an instructional leader. She then transitioned into an assistant principal role at Steinmetz High School, where she had the opportunity to lead the World Language and International Baccalaureate programs before transitioning to her current role at Ellington.
There are many aspects of the principal role that Shirley enjoys, whether it’s witnessing the energy her students bring to school, seeing parents swell with pride at their child’s achievements, or helping her hard-working staff members take initiative in professional learning and instructional planning. And throughout all of her experiences as a school leader, Shirley has been grounded in the belief that improvement is a process. While developing rigorous and engaging core curriculum with appropriate interventions for students, Shirley emphasizes the importance of continuing to use evidence and data to inform decisions. She is looking forward to the Fellowship experience and hopes that the learning will strengthen her ability to lead at Ellington.