Past Event

Our Teachers – how to get them, how to keep them

How can schools and neighborhoods help get and keep the best teachers for their students?

Join us for an interactive experience about teacher retention in Chicago public schools, modeled after a school day. Participants will first hear a keynote from Susan Moore Johnson (Harvard) on how to attract and retain teachers of color.

Then, they’ll travel in groups from classroom to classroom for ten-minute periods led by Chicagoans, like David Gregg (teacher at Senn High School) or Michelle Leon (student at Kelly High School), who are confronting the same issues.

Finally, participants will gather for a school assembly, where everyone will have a chance to share their voice and discuss the future of education in Chicago – complete with a performance by the Kenwood Academy concert choir.

About the Participants

Susan Moore Johnson studies, teaches, and consults about teacher policy, organizational change, and administrative practice. A former high school teacher and administrator, Johnson has a continuing interest in the work of teachers and the reform of schools. She has studied the leadership of superintendents and the organization of school districts; the effects of collective bargaining on schools; the priorities of local union leaders; teacher evaluation; the use of incentive pay plans for teachers; and the school as the context for adult work. Currently, Johnson directs the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers.

In his 13 years at Senn High School in Chicago, David Gregg has been a social studies teacher, a Local School Council representative, and currently serves as an International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme coordinator, and as the school’s director of admissions. He is a National Board Certified Teacher who has represented Senn and CPS as a presenter at both regional and national conferences, discussing his work on teacher professional development in partnership with Loyola University. David is also a school consultant, site visitor, and workshop leader for IB Americas, and an adjunct professor with Loyola.

Michelle Leon is a sophomore at Kelly High School in Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood. She is on the Executive Board of the Chicago District Association of Student Councils, serving as Secretary, and is also the Student Representative on the Kelly High School Local School Council.

Rita Raichoudhuri is the Principal of Wells Community Academy High School in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood. Prior to joining Wells in September of 2013, she held high-level positions with the Chicago Public Schools Office of Professional Learning and the Office of Performance. Rita holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of California, a Master’s Degree in Education from Chapman University and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Illinois.

Kate Van Winkle is the executive director of Grow Your Own Teachers Illinois. GYO is an innovative partnership of community organizations, higher education institutions, and school districts that supports parents, community members and paraprofessionals in low-income communities to become highly qualified teachers. Prior to GYO, Kate spent 15 years working on local and national social, economic and racial justice issues in a variety of roles. She is a graduate of the City University of New York School of Law.

The Kenwood Academy High School Concert Choir has performed locally and nationally at churches, colleges and universities, and vocal competitions nationwide. The Choir has performed for President Barack Obama, and has shared billings with Oscar winner Denzel Washington and Grammy award winners The Winans. Earlier this year, the Choir earned the highest awards at OrlandoFest in Florida as top choir, top concert choir, top female chorus and top chamber choir. Earlier this year, the Choir earned several first-place choral awards including the title of Grand National Choral Champion at the Orlando National High School Music Festival. The Choir will perform “Shalom Chaverim” and Everybody Rejoice” (from “The Wiz”).


More on Continuing Ed.: Parents and the Future of Illinois Public Schools

Continuing Ed. is a yearlong, statewide series working with parents, schools, and communities across the state – in Chicago, Decatur, Elgin, and Jackson County to move the conversation about public education back to parents. All Chicago events will be moderated by Laura Washington (Chicago Sun-Times). For the complete schedule and more information, see

If you require a sign interpreter or any other arrangements to fully participate in this program, please contact at least 72 hours in advance of the event. For more information, please call (312) 422-5580.