Principal Appreciation Campaign

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2023 Principal Appreciation Campaign

In our eighth year of Chicago’s citywide Principal Appreciation Campaign, we joined forces with school communities, city officials, and corporate leaders to lift up the great work of our hardworking school leaders. The theme of 2023’s celebration was Transformational Leadership. We know that Chicago principals serve as a positive force for change in their schools, encouraging their teams and inspiring students as they work together to build knowledge and community. The Principal Appreciation Campaign is a terrific opportunity each year to celebrate the remarkable impact of school leaders on our shared future.

2023 Principal Appreciation Event

A hallmark of our Principal Appreciation Campaign, The Fund invited principals and campaign partners to our culminating Principal Storytelling Event on October 19 at the Field Museum. We were delighted to hear from four principals as they shared their stories of Transformational Leadership.

Meet Our Principal Storytellers

Victor Iturralde Headshot

Principal Victor Iturralde

Solorio Academy
High School

Principal Victor Iturralde is in his 18th year as a CPS principal. He led two neighborhood schools on opposite sides of town, and he is now in his 13th year as founding principal of Solorio Academy High School. Principal Iturralde was named a 2023 Principal Game Changer and recognized at this past summer’s CPS Administrator’s Summit.

Carolyn Jones Headshot

Principal Carolyn Jones

Perkins Bass
Elementary School

Principal Carolyn Jones, a proud CPS graduate of Tilden High school, has been an educator for 27 years and a principal for 12 years. Principal Jones demonstrates intentional leadership as a Chicago New Leaders Alum, a Cahn Fellow Alum, and a member of the Cohort Accelerate Institute. At every opportunity, she seeks to elevate the Perkins Bass Elementary School’s rally cry: Every student matters, every moment, counts joy, connectedness, and engagement all year long!

Derrick Kimbrough image

Dr. Derrick Kimbrough

Jahn School of
Fine Arts

Following his career as a civil servant, Dr. Derrick Kimbrough has served as a teacher and an administrator in Chicago for 19 years. He leads through teacher coaching, program evaluation, equitable evaluation of programming, and schoolwide professional learning. His passion for his students and education led Dr. Kimbrough to earn his Ed.D. in Urban Education Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2021.

Melissa Sweazy

Principal Melissa Sweazy

Esmeralda Santiago Elementary School

Principal Melissa Sweazy is serving in her 13th year as founding principal of Santiago and her 21st year in education in Chicago. Principal Sweazy seeks to equip students with the confidence and sociopolitical consciousness to exercise their voices in school, their community, and beyond. She was the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) Principal of the Year (2016) and Acero Principal of the Year (2023). Principal Sweazy serves on CPS’ Accountability Redesign Advisory Group, and Gov. Pritzker recently appointed her to serve as a commissioner for the new West Town Humboldt Park Mental Health Center.

CTA Campaign

In 2023, we were happy to once again partner with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to display both printed in trains and digital ones on train platforms.

Donate to Celebrate Principals Today!

We welcome all donation levels year-round. Please use the donation form below to support our work in celebrating school leaders. Organizations interested in Principal Appreciation Campaign sponsorship can contact us at

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