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Natasha Buckner-Peña


Principal at George Rogers Clark Elementary School

Natasha Buckner-Peña continues to serves in the role of Principal at George Rogers Clark Elementary School for eight years. George Rogers Clark Elementary School is a Chicago Public School focused on Fine Arts and Technology located on the West Side of Chicago in the Austin Community.

George Rogers Clark Elementary school was recognized for their great contributions of work on behalf of students.  In 2012, G.R. Clark received the Target Attendance Challenge award for having the highest attendance rate within the Chicago Public Schools for the first week of school.  G.R. Clark was one of eight schools in Illinois, and the only school in Chicago to earn the Spotlight Schools and the Academic Improvement award in 2013 from the state of Illinois. In 2013, Principal Buckner-Peña was recognized for improving students’ academic performance on district exams. In 2014, G.R. Clark received a resolution from the City Council of Chicago, congratulating the school community for the school’s outstanding academic achievements.  In 2016, G.R. Clark was recognized as an Exemplary School for Social and Emotional Learning within Chicago Public Schools.  In 2017, GR Clark received International recognition and named a model school for Social and Emotional Learning for the PATHS Curriculum.

Natasha is a native of Chicago from the South Side of Chicago in the Roseland Community. She is an alumna of the Chicago Public Schools.  Prior to working for Chicago Public Schools, Natasha worked for AON Corporation as a claims adjuster and she worked for the Department of Children and Family Services as a social worker.  Natasha’s work as a social worker served as an impetus for her to go into education. Natasha believes that education has the power to transform lives.  Natasha’s career within Chicago Public Schools spans more than 20 years in many capacities.  Natasha has served as a classroom teacher, Math and Science Coach for the district supporting 26 schools on the West Side of Chicago, Citywide Science Facilitator for the district supporting 500 elementary schools in science, and inaugural Assistant Principal for one of the Modern Schools across Chicago.  Natasha has served as a Board Member for City Science Fair, Inc., and as a member of the Science Leadership Advisory Committee with the Museum of Science and Industry.

Natasha earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Chicago State University, a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Lewis University and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Loyola University Chicago.  Natasha believes that the day you stop learning is the day you stop living.

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