The Chicago Collaborative
Since 2017, Leading Educators has been a key partner to Chicago-based school systems, notably Chicago Public Schools, in several efforts to improve students’ opportunities and outcomes. Today, we continue to offer contextualized support that builds on our initial work around teacher leadership to promote the usage of high-quality instructional materials.
Change is rarely linear. For years, Chicago Public Schools has been key moves to strengthen teacher practice and the supports for high-quality teaching in every classroom.
Leading Educators won an Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the US Department of Education in 2016 to launch the Chicago Collaborative, an effort to boost instructional leadership capacity in Chicago schools.
Funds from the i3 supported a cohort of teacher leader teams representing 20 schools across three Chicago partners—Chicago Public Schools, KIPP Chicago, and the North Chicago Community United School District—who led curriculum-based professional learning for peers.
The first phase of this Chicago-based partnership culminated with a randomized control trial conducted by the RAND Corporation that found statically-significant impact on student achievement. Participation in the Collaborative had the effect of an average teacher becoming more effective than two-thirds of peers at improving student achievement.
Chicago Public Schools’ Skyline curriculum sets a new standard for instructional materials. It builds upon grade-level standards and learning science to uniquely connect with the identities and experiences of Chicago’s students.
Leading Educators is working with a subset of CPS schools to design support for school adoption and implementation. Each school makes its own decisions about which content areas and grade levels participate in Skyline adoption. So, a professional learning system will offer subject- and grade-specific knowledge building, collaborative practice, and opportunities to continuously improve use.
A new randomized control trial by RAND Corporation shows that educators significantly increased student achievement after participating in Leading Educators’ Chicago-based PD program. These findings challenge the misconception that teacher professional development is ineffective and costly—the content and components matter.
Meet the Team
Senior Director of Programming
Director of Content & Coaching
Director of Content
Instructional Leadership Coach, Chicago
Instructional Leadership Coach, Math
About Claudine Andrews
Before joining Leading Educators, Claudine provided targeted, individualized coaching support for new and experienced teachers in schools within the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) network of Chicago Public Schools. Prior to her work at AUSL, Claudine was a middle school teacher through the Inner City Teaching Corps, and a teacher and Math coach at the University of Chicago Charter School - Donoghue Campus.
Claudine holds a B.A in Sociology and French Literature from Boston College and a M.S.Ed in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University. She currently lives outside of Detroit with her husband and their two children. When not working, Claudine enjoys indoor cycling, watching college sports, and hanging out with her family and friends.
Claudine Andrews in the news
About LeAnita Garner
Before joining Leading Educators, LeAnita provided targeted, individualized coaching to new teachers in schools within the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) network of Chicago Public Schools. That role evolved into a Network Instructional Coach where she supported teachers, teacher leaders, and school leaders in deepening their understanding of standards aligned instruction through coaching support and professional development. Prior to her work at AUSL, LeAnita was a primary and intermediate classroom teacher with Atlanta Public Schools and later with the University of Chicago Charter School-Donoghue Campus.
LeAnita holds a B.S in Early Childhood Development from Northern Illinois University and a M.A.Ed in Instructional Leadership from Argosy University.
LeAnita Garner in the news
About Tori McGowan
Previously with Leading Educators, she coached instructional leaders across Chicago as an Instructional Leadership Coach. Before joining Leading Educators, Tori worked as an instructional coach with a charter school in Chicago. She has worked in education for over 26 years as a teacher, Lead Teacher, Assistant Director, Math Coordinator, and Instructional Coach.
Tori holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Tufts University and a M.A. in School Leadership from Concordia University. She lives in a suburb of Chicago where she enjoys exploring the different neighborhoods of Chicago, reading, baking, and spending time with friends and family.
About Shondele Gillens-Vazquez
She enjoys creating spaces where educators share experiences and problems of practice in an effort to learn from one another and develop collegial relationships. She is rooted in the belief that teachers with an awareness of strengths and influence have a special set of leadership skills necessary to influence and support educational efforts to promote equity and advocacy for children of color.
Shondele is driven by her strong desire to be an advocate for students whose voices are not recognized as appropriately powerful. She is excited to be a part of a team that believes all kids deserve to be heard while being committed to the “dance” that empowers and liberates teachers to be leaders in this necessary work.
Instructional Leadership Coach, Math
About Morgan Qin
Over the last few years, Morgan worked as an Implementation Support Specialist for Great Minds, facilitating coaching conversations with teachers in their instruction of the Common Core math standards through Eureka math. Before working for Great Minds, Morgan was a third-grade teacher within Chicago Public Schools in the AUSL network.
Morgan currently lives in Chicago with her husband, Simon, and their dog, Roscoe. She enjoys reading, watching Liverpool soccer games, and spending time with friends and family.
About Danielle Parker
Danielle taught in Kansas City, MO and Chicago for five years. In her free time, she enjoys listening to comedy shows, reading a good book, or spending time outdoors.
News & Stories from Chicago
Take a deeper dive into the work on the ground through publications, news, and stories.