The Many Roles of APs: Latricia Baker-Tall Putting People at the Center of Leadership

Assistant principals (APs) have multifaceted roles in Chicago’s public schools. They serve as instructional leaders, operational managers, student advocates, and important contact points for the community, among others. In this series, “The Many Roles of APs,” we present the work and experiences of APs around Chicago to better understand how they contribute to their school communities.


AP Latricia Baker-Tall has served Wendell E. Green Elementary School for nine years. Her journey from a math teacher to an impactful administrator reflects her deep-seated passion for developing teachers, supporting her principal, and meeting the needs of students through a people-centered lens. Reflecting on her leadership journey, Latricia says, “I think I’ve always been a leader, even from childhood, and becoming an assistant principal has opened a lot of doors for new learning.”

Because she steps in where needed, Latricia’s days are filled with a variety of tasks —  from coordinating substitutes and assisting with assessment administration to bridging communication between students, teachers, and parents. Through it all, she uses her people-centered approach. Latricia uses restorative practices for student discipline issues, for example, helping students access resources to address adverse behaviors. She even transforms her office into a “beauty shop” to boost the confidence of students having a bad day.

Latricia especially prides herself in her role as a coach and instructional leader. She observes teachers and challenges them to improve their practice through new strategies. She also works hard to connect with her teachers as people first in an effort to support their growth and development. This approach shines through in her work with Green’s out-of-school-time programs, which she initially led and then trained teachers to manage. 

Notably, Latricia has also been an integral part of the Local School Council (LSC) since 2004. Working alongside Green Elementary Principal Tyrone Dowdell, she emphasizes transparency, ensuring the LSC is well-informed about the school’s Continuous Improvement Work Plan, budget and personnel changes, curriculum updates, technology needs, and events, among other matters. Her commitment has contributed to an engaged and smoothly functioning school environment for over two decades.

Through every initiative, meeting, and personal interaction, Latricia proves the indispensable value of dedicated APs in shaping schools. “The AP role is very interesting in that it encompasses so much,” she says. “When the principal is out of the office, I step right into the principal role. And I can honestly say it’s really beneficial when principals get along with their assistant principals. My principal has ensured that I am learning all the skills needed to be an effective leader.”

Latricia exemplifies the ingenuity and commitment Chicago’s APs need to support their school communities. They work relentlessly to ensure that their principals and teachers are supported and that their students have inclusive and enriching learning environments.

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