Grant-White School will have new leadership when Chyla Weaver, 30, takes the helm after Wendy Trotter retires in the 2014-15 school year.
The District 91 school board hired Weaver at the Feb. 13 meeting. She starts in July.
She has worked in Champaign and Chicago as a teacher, assistant principal and curriculum instructor.
With the new switch to the Common Core curriculum, Weaver sees her role as “supporting the teachers as much as possible,” she said.
“I was lucky enough in my past assistant principal job to have a role more as a co-principal than as disciplinarian,” she said. “I got to coach teachers and really support them.”
Like her soon-to-be colleague Tiffany Brunson at Field-Stevenson, Weaver underwent a tumultuous period as an administrator at a Chicago public school. She dealt with the re-organization of Brian Piccolo Elementary School on Chicago’s West Side. Parents and students occupied the school in February 2012 to protest the turnaround. The entire staff was replaced by teachers from the Academy for Urban School Leadership. Piccolo appeared on a CPS “closing” list but got a reprieve and is still open today.
“We tried to make the transition as seamless as possible for the children,” Weaver said. “It was in the best interest of the kids to help them stay focused on learning.”
She learned how important it was to collaborate with parents, which should be an important skill for Grant-White as the school’s parents try to rebuild the PTO parent volunteer organization. Bickering among parents caused Trotter to disband the PTO in the fall of 2011. Rebuilding parent connections at Grant-White is a goal the board and Superintendent Lou Cavallo have talked about this year.
Weaver initially taught middle school at Jefferson Middle School in Champaign, where she became certified as an AVID teacher, an acronym for Advancement Via Individual Determination, a college readiness system that places students from the academic middle in appropriate honors level courses.
She moved to assistant principal at South Side Elementary School in Champaign and worked as special education administrator.
Three years ago, Weaver moved to Chicago and served as assistant principal at Piccolo Elementary. She then worked as an instructional support leader and instructional support manager for CPS, coaching teachers and administrators in curriculum and instruction. She has a four month-old daughter.
Weaver said she’s looking forward to meeting each teacher at Grant-White.
“I’m a collaborative person and I love interacting with people,” she said, and is not daunted by the curriculum overhaul that Common Core represents.
“I’m one of those people who gets excited about unit planning. I want teachers to grow at their profession. The worst thing for a teacher is to stop being reflective,” she said, noting that she’s also a learner herself.
“If there’s a teacher who’s been there for 20 years, I’m sure I’ll have a lot to learn from that teacher.”