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Chicago Public Schools Welcomes 57 New Principals for the 2022-23 School Year

12 October 2022

The District’s New Principal Institute Partners First-Year Principals With Mentor Principals to Foster Supportive Relationships

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
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CHICAGO – As Chicago Public Schools (CPS) celebrates Principal Appreciation Month, it celebrates 57 new school leaders serving schools across the District. In addition to ongoing professional development, CPS provides new principals with direct peer support via mentor principals who know the ins and outs of one the most challenging jobs in education.

Through the District’s Department of Principal Quality  mentor principals form supportive relationships assisting new principals in adjusting to their new role and sharpening their skills as instructional leaders while identifying and avoiding significant school issues that could act as barriers to improvement. Mentors, all part of the department’s New Principal Institute, provide feedback on all aspects of new principals’ professional growth. 

“Principals are the backbone of our school communities and any supports they receive over time is guaranteed to have a positive impact on our students,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “We know that pairing our first-year principals with mentors improves their experience as they celebrate successes and navigate challenging times. Together that support helps our teachers and students thrive and become key members of our global community.”

Educational studies show that when a principal is supported with professional guidance, their outlook has a positive effect on their school communities. Alternatively, studies also show new principals cite stress and subsequent burnout, which can also deter other educators from stepping into the role.

To counter those realities, CPS, with help from a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), pairs all new principals with leadership and social-emotional mentors who provide them with the guidance and support needed to lead their school communities. The resource has been especially important in recent years as new principals navigate their new position amid a global pandemic and social unrest.

CPS principal mentors include Lori Zaimi, principal at Peirce Elementary School in Edgewater for the last eight years and a 23-year veteran of the District. Principal Zaimi has mentored new principals for the past several years and is supporting three new principals this year. She talks through everything from time management to school improvement work with her mentees, and often serves as a collaborator, or simply a sounding board.

“We want to keep and retain principals,” said Principal Zaimi. “Principals need champions and they need cheerleaders because the work can be very isolating. There’s not two principals in any one building. We want to create that network to talk to others, to walk through technical and adaptive issues that we face so that we can support our teams and provide the very best education for our students.”

More than 60 percent of CPS-staffed principals are Black and Latino and the District is continuing efforts to ensure that District students see themselves in the teachers and leaders standing before them. District leadership development programs, the Teacher Residency Program and Teach Chicago Tomorrow are among long-term initiatives that aim to ensure a pipeline of teachers and school leaders of color. 

After graduating from Roosevelt University, Horace Mann Elementary School Principal Karon Purkett was told by a member of her church that she should apply for a teaching job at Mann Elementary.

She didn’t get that first job, but fast forward a few years, she is now in her first year as principal receiving guidance from her principal mentor.

“I worked as an instructional support leader in Network 12 previously so I had a built-in support system – I had folks to lean on,” said Purkett, a graduate of William H. Ryder Math & Science Specialty Elementary School and John M. Harlan Community Academy High School.

 “This is a tough job and I’m receiving the support I need,” Purkett said. “I’m able to contact someone when I need guidance.” 

Elizabeth Mourtokokis, the new principal at Northside Learning Center, often leans on her mentor, Kusan Thomas, the principal at Ray Graham Training Center. They meet once a week to discuss their experiences as principals who lead high schools that educate students with disabilities. 

“I never have to explain what I’m going through because she anticipates my questions as someone who works in special education,” said Mourtokokis, who moved into the principal role after four years as Northside’s assistant principal. “Our partnership is great.”

The District’s School Year 2022-23 first-year principals are as follows:



Afua Agyeman-Badu

Ida Aldridge Elementary School

Juwana Foster-Wells

Carroll-Rosenwald Elementary School

Thomas Peri

Eliza Chappell Elementary School

Ingrid Boyd 

Curtis School of Excellence 

Patricia Bagget-Hopkins

Claremont Academy 

Kevin Coppage

Corliss Early College STEM High School 

Toya Murray

Richard T. Crane Medical Prep High School 

Marcus Ware

Paul Cuffe STEM Academy

Eboni Mixon

R. Nathaniel Dett School 

Iliana Rzodkiewicz

Disney II Magnet School

Philip Iem

Ortiz De Dominguez Elementary School 

Maureen Komperda

Oscar DePriest Elementary School 

Christina Sanchez

John C. Dore Elementary School 

Michele Nash

Ebinger Elementary School

Bill Yeh

William C. Goudy Technology Academy

Regina Latimer

Charles W. Earle STEM Elementary School

Deivi Aguilar

Alexander Graham Elementary School

Christine Hurley

Virgil I. Grissom Elementary School

Rufino Bustos

Sarah Goode STEM Academy

Derrick Kimbrough

Jahn School of Fine Arts

Kai Jones

John M. Harlan Community Academy High School

Chris Twomey

Stephen K. Hayt Elementary School

LaDonna Williams

Helen M. Hefferan STEAM School

Anika Murphy-Wellere

Thomas A. Hendricks Community Academy

Joseph Campbell

Joseph Lovett Elementary School

Karon Purkett

Carrie Cole

McClellan Elementary School

Kahinde Longmire

J.T. McCutcheon Elementary School

Daniel Kuzma 

Morgan Park High School

Aundre Hayes

Francis M. Mckay School

Kyle Schutle 

James Monroe Elementary School

Kerrin Quezada

Bernhard Moos Elementary School

Lorelei Shick

John B. Murphy Elementary School

Dr. Verona Portis 

New Sullivan Elementary School 

Elizabeth Mourtokokis

Northside Learning Center High School

Meghan Sovell 

Orozco Academy

Claudia Oberlin

James Otis World Language Academy

Rebecca Kijek

Peace and Education Coalition Alternative High School

Rashad Talley

Phillips Academy High School

Keviyona Smith-Ray

A. Philip Randolph Elementary School

Michael Richie 

Reavis Elementary Math and Science Specialty School

Meghan Fido

Wilma Rudolph Learning Center

Tenesha Hatter 

Theophilus Schmid Elementary School

Heidy Moran

Schurz High School

Turan Crockett

Wendell Smith Elementary School

Pamela Bolden

Amos Alonzo Stagg Elementary School

William Hozian

Adlai E. Stevenson Elementary School

Pablo Guzman 

John Spry Community School

Anna Vilchez

Steinmetz College Prep

Kathyrn Nestler 

Stone Scholastic Academy

Jeff Cooks

Roger C. Sullivan High School

Margaret Alhasoon

George B. Swift Specialty School

Jacqueline Dillard

Henry O. Tanner Elementary School

Edwardo Yanez

Alessandro Volta School

Araceli Ibbara 

John A. Walsh Elementary School

Rickey Harris 

Whitney M. Young Magnet High School

Salvador Velasco 

Emiliano Zapata Academy

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