Rashid SmithMath Teacher
West Ridge Elementary School
Why do you choose to work for CPS?
I’m a lifelong resident of the South Side of Chicago who graduated as valedictorian at Chicago Vocational High School. I am also a 1994 Golden Apple Scholar. With the training and experience that I received as a Golden Apple Scholar, I knew that I was destined to support CPS students to better prepare them for their future. After graduating from DePaul University on a full academic scholarship, I was able to return to Chicago Vocational High School as an educator and teacher leader. During my second year of teaching, my former teachers, who inspired me to become an educator, voted me as a department chair. They saw my leadership ability and my drive to step up and develop additional leadership skills.
How do you approach leadership?
My early experiences as a student and educator have motivated me to continue to develop my leadership skills to do what is best for students. I have been given the opportunity to serve in several leadership roles during my 21-year tenure with CPS. While building my leadership skills as a department chair, Instructional Leadership Team member and Mathematics Instructional Coach, among others, continuing my education was also important. I received my Master of Science in Mathematics, my Master of Education in Educational Leadership, earned my Type 75 as well as becoming REACH Certified as a teacher evaluator. My goal has always been to make the largest possible impact on CPS students and teachers across the district and for me, this meant that I had to make the difficult decision to leave the classroom.
What do you do?
In September 2018, I embarked on a new journey as a High School Mathematics Specialist. This role allows me to support teachers with implementing research-based instructional strategies that positively impact student learning, as well as design, differentiate and facilitate professional learning opportunities based on school and network needs. I continue to grow my leadership skills by asking questions and listening to the people I lead and support. I know I must find solutions to various problems and create a culture where expectations align along a common vision. I’ve always been committed to positively impacting student achievement, no matter my role. I am excited to continue to learn and develop my leadership and am happy to have Lead with CPS as a tool to grow.