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Take Five with Joenile Albert-Reese: Principal at A.N. Pritzker School

13 October 2023

As a school leader, Dr. Reese embraces a growth mindset and teaches her students to do the same.

Headshot of Dr. Reese

Take Five is a series that highlights some of the many members of the CPS community who are going above and beyond for our schools. If you know someone who is making a difference, nominate them to be featured here


This week, as part of our District’s continued celebration of Principal Appreciation Month, we are excited to spotlight Principal Joenile Albert-Reese. Dr. Reese has been a CPS educator for more than 40 years, and has served as the principal of A.N. Pritzker School for nearly two decades. 

Over the years, Dr. Reese has taught every grade but Kindergarten, and has seen her students grow up and send their own children to Pritzker. She has also supported many staff members in their journeys to becoming administrators themselves. Throughout it all, Dr. Reese has never lost her energy or love of her work. 

“Students pick up on your aura,” Dr. Reese said. “Positive energy spreads throughout the school. When children know you care and are happy to be there, they respond to you differently.”

Dr. Reese originally planned to become a physician, but she found that medical school was not her passion. She started substitute teaching while considering her next steps and quickly realized how fulfilling it was to see students learn and grow. After that, she never looked back. 

As a school leader, Dr. Reese embraces a growth mindset and teaches her students to do the same. She is also committed to creating a culture of second chances and building relationships with families as true partners in their children’s education. 

What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

The connection with students. They are what brought me to education, and they are what’s kept me here. Children just light up the room, and they bring such pure energy to everything they do. Being a principal is great because I get to support both staff and students at the same time. I absolutely love what I do.

Do you have any advice for your younger self?

It’s going to be okay. And as long as you’re doing the best thing for the children in your school, be strong in your decisions.

How would your school community describe you?

If you ask any student, they would tell you that I just want to see them smiling and their brain growing. I also think people would tell you that I'm a caring and present administrator, and that I'm open and transparent.

What is your message for other principals during Principal Appreciation Month?

Thank you for all you do. I know how hard you work, and I just want you to remember that it’s also important to rest and have fun. If you want to care for others, you have to take care of yourself too!

What do you like to do outside of work?

I’m very active at my church, and I am a caregiver for my mom. I also teach water aerobics, which is really fun. I think winding down is so important—I enjoy a good wine, I like comedy, and I love relaxing with some jazz music.

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