Illinois Community School Leadership Awards
Honoring the vision and commitment of Illinois’ exceptional
community school leaders

A strong community school is only as effective as the team of school, community, and partner agency leaders that drive the work forward.  To effectively use the community school framework to wrap resources around students and families, expertise and leadership is needed from all stakeholders.  While it's ultimately a group effort, individual leaders play a vital role in shepherding a shared vision of student success amongst all stakeholders.

Whether it's a visionary principal, strong resource coordinator, committed parent, or dedicated staff member, a strong leader in a community school is instrumental in ensuring full implementation of the model and strong outcomes for students and families.

Meet our 2013 Community School Leadership Award Winners

Patrick Brosnan , Executive Director, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC)
Patrick Brosnan began his work with BPNC in 1999 as a turf organizer working with families in the community to organize campaigns to hold slum and absentee landlords accountable.  He began working with schools in Brighton Park in 2002 and helped to form BPNC's first community school by working with the Burroughs' Principal and parents to form their first oversight committee.  He worked to develop BPNC's full-
service community school model, which has expanded into four elementary schools and one high school.  He sat on the first statewide leadership team that would eventually become the board of directors for the Federation for Community Schools.  Mr. Brosnan became BPNC's executive director in 2007 and has helped to grow the organization into one that embraces the community school model as central to its service and organizing goals.  He also recognizes the importance of advocating for community school work – and readily shares his expertise develop the capacity of others to advocate as well.

Flor Esquivel-Benitez , Resource Coordinator, Kelly High School & Brighton Park Neighborhood Council
Raised in Brighton Park, Flor Esquivel-Benitez is now the resource coordinator at Kelly High School through Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC).  Flor graduated from Davis Elementary and Kelly High School, two neighborhood schools located in Brighton Park. As a student in high school, Flor was involved with the various sports, the national honor society, and a youth leader through BPNC. Flor continued her studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago receiving a bachelor’s degree in
Liberal Arts and Sciences -- all paid through a variety of scholarships.  At a young age, Flor has known the value of education and community involvement, which is what keeps her grounded and passionate about the Community School model. She enjoys working in the community she grew up in and knows so well.  If she’s not running around at Kelly High School you can find her running after her two young boys, Elio and Fernando.

Kurt D. Jones , Principal, Arthur A. Libby Elementary School
Kurt D. Jones is in his sixth year of service to Arthur A. Libby Elementary School as principal. His vision of Libby being “a place to dream big dreams and achieve big goals” has been manifested in Horizon School status for the school, and he never has lost his focus  on student  social-emotional  well-being in  addition to academic  excellence.  Libby is one of few  K-8  Chicago Public
School district schools with a Fine Arts Department which allows every student to find a “knack” for expressing him-or herself through dance, art, music, or drama. Principal Jones believes in each child’s intrinsic worth, and he hones in on people’s strengths and assets, not their deficits.  Under his leadership, children and families have been able to thrive in an environment that is safe, caring, and nurturing. Principal Jones fosters a shared vision and values true strategic partnerships, like that with the lead partner agency, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.  As Principal Jones likes to say, “you can’t spell Libby without the Y.”
A nna Lane , Teacher, Thomas Kelly High School
Anna Lane has been a teacher for 12 years. She is currently the Co-Bilingual Coordinator at Kelly High School.  During her tenure at Kelly H.S. she has created several learning projects that have positively impacted students and their families. The students adore her -- she is like a mother and a father figure to all of them. Ms. Lane is passionate about social justice and is truly an education activist.  During her spare time, she likes taking road trips - because she is afraid of flying.
April Langworthy , Director of Community Schools/After School, Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) at Columbia College Chicago
April Langworthy is responsible for overall management of out-of-school programs, including supervision of Program Managers, staff professional development, program evaluation, continuous improvement efforts, and partnership-building.  Ms. Langworthy  managed   the  GEAR UP    college  readiness  program  at  CCAP from  2002  to  2005 and  has supervised  the Community Schools program for over eight years. Under April’s leadership of the Community Schools Initiative, CCAP was one
of 15 organizations that won the 2010 National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award which was presented by First Lady Michelle Obama in an East Room ceremony.    Prior   to   CCAP,   Ms. Langworthy   worked   with   Chicago Public Schools in program improvement, staff professional development, classroom instruction, and evaluation. Ms. Langworthy has a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on School Improvement Practices and Arts Integration, and a B.S. in Theatre Education.

Raquel Saucedo , Principal, Salmon P. Chase Elementary School
Raquel Saucedo has served Chase School in an administrative capacity for the past three years. She started out as Assistant Principal,  was  the natural choice to  move  up to Principal, and even before these  positions was a fixture  at Chase during her
Special Ed. student teaching and Type 75 internships. Her longstanding commitment to Chase, her studies in education at The University of Illinois and administration at Concordia as well as her experiences in world traveling and the Peace Corps make her a formidably experienced community school leader. Her humor, tenacity, and budget wizardry make her a fantastic ally and advocate of the families she serves. In between balancing budgets and motivating teachers and students, she welcomed her first child into the world on September 23 rd , 2013.

Laurie Stalheim , Teacher, Sumner Math & Science Community Academy
Laurie Stalheim is a National Board Certified middle school teacher at Sumner Academy in Chicago.   In eight years of teaching, she has taught all subjects, but primarily focuses on 7th grade science and math.  Ms. Stalheim earned her M.Ed. in Elementary Teaching and Learning from DePaul University and is currently pursuing a Type 75 Certificate and Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.
Larissa Zageris , Resource Coordinator, Chase Elementary School & Children’s Home + Aid
Larissa Zageris has served as the Resource Coordinator for the Children’s Home + Aid Excellence Academy at Salmon P. Chase Elementary since 2011.  Before  taking on  her RC  position,  Ms. Zageris taught art  and  filmmaking at Chase.  While  she  has worked in arts  outreach  programs  since  2007, she is happy to  have found such  a vibrant home at  Chase.  She works with a
committed and creative team to provide support and programming to fantastically talented kids and their community. As an artist and arts educator, she is committed to bringing meaningful programming and tangible artistic results to her students and stakeholders. Ms. Zageris has worked with Pegasus Players, Chicago Dramatists, Columbia College Chicago, Girls Rock! Chicago, and the Museum of Science and Industry. She is from Midlothian, Illinois and is a graduate of New York University.

Meet our 2012 Community School Leadership Award Winners

A visionary principal. A purposeful community member. A dedicated district administrator. A committed partner agency manager. How does each of these individuals lead community school development?

Marcelo Caplan
Marcelo Caplan is Associate Professor of the Department of Science and Mathematics at Columbia College Chicago. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he is involved in the outreach programs and activities of the Science Institute. He serves as the coordinator of three outreach programs, including 1) the NSF-ISE project “Scientists for Tomorrow,” which promotes
Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning in 15 community centers; 2) the Junior Research Scientists program funded by After School Matters of the city of Chicago which promotes Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics for high school students; and, 3) a collaboration with the Chicago Teachers Center – Northeastern University to promote STEM learning in their Upward Bound Math & Science program, which is also oriented for high school students.

Fanny Diego Alvarez
Fanny Diego Alvarez is a longtime resident of the Little Village community in Chicago. At an early age, she became an active advocate for her community through school-related and environmental justice issues.  Fanny is a proud graduate of Rosario Castellanos Elementary School and Farragut Career Academy.  Both are schools that she currently works with as part of the Community Schools Program at Enlace Chicago. After high school, Fanny attended undergraduate school the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Chicago. Fanny has worked with and for Enlace
Chicago in different capacities
for a decade, starting as youth advocate, then program coordinator and now Director of Community Schools. When she is not working, at school, interning, or reading, she enjoys taking walks around her neighborhood with her Jack Russell Terrier puppy, Ramsey.

Tanika Island
Tanika Island is director at the University of Chicago Charter School North Kenwood-Oakland (NKO) Campus.  Prior to becoming director of NKO, Island was the intermediate/upper grades literacy coordinator at NKO, where she provided professional development and created literacy tools with researchers from the University of Chicago. She eventually took on the role of 5th-grade literacy teacher. Before joining NKO, Island held the position
of adjunct faculty member
at Northwestern University's Teaching Practicum and Field Experience Seminar and facilitated weekly discussions on educational practice and theory.  From 1997 to 2001,Island held the position of 4th-grade team leader for Martin L. King Experimental Laboratory School in Evanston, IL, where she took on the roles of Language Arts district representative, School Literacy Committee member, Teachers as Readers Committee member, a Sisterhood Project mentor and coordinator of Battle of the Books inter-school competition. Island received a B.A. in education with a concentration in psychology from National Louis University in Chicago. In May 2008, she received a M.A. in literacy education from Loyola University and, through the Urban Education Institute, received a leadership fellowship.

Marjory Lewe-Brady
Marjory Lewe-Brady, LCSW is currently Director of Partnerships for Safety, Wellness and Achievement in West Chicago Elementary School District 33 in West Chicago, IL.  As the Director of Partnerships, Marjory facilitates a large community collaboration, WeGo Together for Kids which addresses the health, safety and well-being of students and families through a collaborative, coordinated and comprehensive approach for West Chicago schools and community. Marjory’s career started with the
DuPage County Health Department in the

Child and Adolescent Division as a family therapist. After years of providing therapy to families with children with severe mental illnesses, she led a county wide initiative to reduce untreated depression which included public awareness, education, and coordinating mental health providers to use similar and consistent treatment protocols and outcome measures. Marjory’s experience as a licensed clinical social worker, community advocate and parent of three children brings a unique expertise to working with the community school philosophy.
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