About Us

The UChicago Charter School is a public charter school in the Chicago Public Schools district composed of four campuses serving approximately 1,600 students on Chicago’s South Side. UChicago Charter’s North Kenwood/Oakland and Donoghue elementary campuses serve grades preK–5, its Carter G. Woodson middle school campus serves grade 8, and its combined middle and high school campus serves grades 6-12. Together, the four campuses of the UChicago Charter School provide a pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade “superhighway” to college, cultivating students to become critical thinkers and leaders who succeed in four-year colleges and beyond.

Campuses

Serving students from grades preK through 12 on the south-side of Chicago.

Students

Our scholars go on to study at some of the best colleges and universities here in the U.S. and abroad.

Full-time Staff

With partners from across the University of Chicago and the city, our dedicated people help our students succeed every day.

Our Mission

The University of Chicago Charter School prepares 100% of students for college acceptance and graduation through a preK to 12 superhighway which cultivates culturally aware critical thinkers and leaders.

Mission The University of Chicago Charter School prepares 100 percent of its students for college acceptance and graduation through a preK to 12 superhighway which cultivates culturally aware critical thinkers and leaders.
Values Scholarship    Leadership    Excellence    Grit
Goals Strategies
Gender Gap Employ intentional instructional and social-emotional learning strategies to support the achievement and cultivate the development of Black boys
Alignment Share and develop network best practices - Instructional & School Culture
Establish UChicago Charter as a top-five school that retains students in a preK to 12 Superhighway
Talent Attract, develop, and retain the best and most collaborative teachers, leaders and staff
College Going Culture Establish high expectations through a college graduation culture

Our Story

The UChicago Charter School was founded on the belief that all students are capable of achieving academic excellence and realizing their highest potential through ambitious instruction and strong support networks. At the heart of the UChicago Charter School’s model are ambitious learning goals for students. The UChicago Charter School’s founders believed that school subject matter should be engaging, intellectually challenging, and relevant to students’ lives, and that teachers should go beyond imparting information to elicit student thinking. In contrast to many conventional approaches to teaching, which emphasize the absorption of facts and procedures, the UChicago Charter School emphasizes the development of “higher-order” abilities such as the capacity to synthesize and explain complex ideas, interpret and construct arguments, test hypotheses, discover patterns, evaluate claims, and support conclusions with evidence.

UChicago Charter provides students with rigorous instruction and comprehensive academic and social supports to accelerate learning, develop college readiness, and cultivate self-responsibility and leadership. Our campuses provide extensive instructional time and take a research-based approach to instruction, engaging students in ambitious intellectual work and using diagnostic assessments to gauge their progress toward learning standards as well as tailor instruction to students’ individual needs. Intensive professional development and supports are in place for campus directors and teachers, and an advanced technological infrastructure supports both teaching and learning at each UChicago Charter School campus.

Parent centers and parent leadership are also an integral part of our school culture. The UChicago Charter School’s founders believed partnerships between parents and teachers mattered—not just during a crisis or when a student experiences serious learning difficulties, but on a daily, ongoing basis, to ensure each child was on track to meet the school’s ambitious learning goals.

Consequently, UChicago Charter leaders and teachers make continuous engagement and coordination with parents a central part of their efforts to foster ambitious learning.  The UChicago Charter School has a Director of Partnerships, Family, and Community Engagement who is devoted to developing strong relationships with students and families, and connecting them with local community resources when needed. Above all, our teachers, staff, and leaders are dedicated and skilled educators who guide and inspire our students to rise to excellence and achieve at high levels.

Students undertake research projects in the humanities, sciences and social sciences, beginning in elementary school and culminating with thesis projects in the senior year. Each campus envelops students in a culture of high academic achievement, with explicit attention to issues of race, class, culture, and gender that affect urban schooling.

UChicago Charter uses diagnostic assessments to gauge student progress towards learning standards, using the results to fine-tune instruction, introduce interventions, and target academic and social supports. Intensive professional development, supports and incentives are in place for teachers and school leaders. An advanced technological infrastructure supports teaching and learning. Parent centers and parent leadership are integral to our school culture. Above all, our teachers, staff and leaders are dedicated, knowledgeable and skillful educators who teach, support, and inspire our students to achieve at high levels.

School Leadership

The University of Chicago Charter School is led by a team of dedicated, experienced educators—leaders who truly believe that all of our young people are capable of extraordinary things. Our school leaders relentlessly champion students’ potential and possibilities at every grade level to help each student rise to excellence. Click below to learn more about our team.

Tanika Island Childress

Tanika Island Childress

Director & CEO

Tanika Island Childress is the Chief Executive Officer and Director of the University of Chicago Charter School and its four campuses, as well as a managing director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute (UEI).

tisland@uchicagocharter.org

 

Jerrold Washington

Jerrold Washington

Chief Academic Officer

Jerrold is the Chief Academic Officer for the University of Chicago Charter School’s four campuses. In this role, Washington works directly with campus directors and their leadership teams in preparing 100% of our students for college acceptance and graduation.

jerroldwashington@uchicagocharter.org

 

Todd Barnett

Todd Barnett

Director of Partnerships

Todd is the Director of Partnerships at the University of Chicago Charter School. Barnett collaborates with the University of Chicago Laboratory School in particular, creating and managing special joint programming opportunities for students and families through the Lim Family partnership.

tbarnett@uchicagocharter.org

 

Dr. Ramon Griffin - Chief Culture Officer

Ramon Griffin

Dr. Ramon Griffin serves as Chief Culture Officer for the University of Chicago Charter School’s four campuses.

Dr. Griffin recently graduated from Michigan State University with a Ph.D. in K-12 Educational Administration focusing on the ramifications of ‘No Excuses’ discipline in urban schools, the hazardous effects of complex trauma, and the school to prison pipeline for adolescent black males. Professionally, Griffin has worked as a teacher, a dean of students and as a director of school culture in Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) in Houston, New Orleans, and Detroit. Griffin was also a visiting researcher and facilitator with the Trauma Responsive Educational Practices (TREP) project at the University of Chicago and has also served as a juvenile detention officer in Harris County, TX. Dr. Griffin is a proud Ford Heights, IL native and he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice from the historically black college, Dillard University in New Orleans, LA.

rgriffin@uchicagocharter.org

Carla Scott - Director of Admissions & FOIA Officer

Carla Scott

Carla Scott serves as the Director of Admissions for the University of Chicago Charter School. In partnership with the admissions team and campus operations managers, Scott oversees the application, registration, and enrollment process for school’s four campuses. Scott also collaborates with the communications team to develop recruitment materials and coordinate and execute recruitment strategies for UChicago Charter.

Prior to working as director of admissions, Scott worked for all four campuses as project manager for the University of Chicago Charter School and supported office staff at Woodlawn Campus. Scott’s two children currently attend the UChicago Charter School.

carlascott@uchicagocharter.org | 773-834-2865

LaTonya Hill - Director of Family and Community Engagement

LaTonya Hill

LaTonya Hill has been appointed Director of Family and Community Engagement for the University of Chicago Charter School.

She will work closely with Todd Barnett to support the Family Teacher Community Organization (FTCO) and engage families across all four UChicago Charter campuses. Hill will also support the coordination of parent volunteers at the campuses, lead new efforts to enhance student retention, and establish new partnerships with community-based organizations to expand resources for parents.

Hill has been a UChicago Charter Donoghue parent since 2005 and was named Family Support Counselor at Donoghue in 2009. As Family Support Counselor, Hill served as a liaison between the school and the most at risk students and their families. She facilitated academic and social support meetings, in which parents collectively brainstormed ways to support students who were struggling academically. She also worked on the Birth-to-College Initiative, communicating with families whose children were transitioning from childhood support centers into UChicago Charter.

“As a parent and having been a UChicago Charter parent before, I’m just excited to teach parents how to navigate school for their kids in a way that supports the family, the student, and the community,” said Hill. “More and more, school has a role to play in the footprint for African American kids in Chicago. We have to do more, and at UChicago Charter we have the capacity to do it. I’m excited to take on the challenge.”

latonyamaxwell@uchicagocharter.org

Tony Pajakowski - Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Tony Pajakowski

Tony Pajakowski is the Chief Technology Officer at the University of Chicago Charter School. Pajakowski works with leaders across the school to strengthen the vision for technology implementation in grades preK to 12. He serves as the principal advisor on all technology systems and initiatives and helps design, develop, implement, and maintain a data platform to enable continuous academic and operational improvement across the University of Chicago Charter School.

Prior to joining UEI, Pajakowski worked for eight years with Perspectives Charter School, serving in roles including the director of data and accountability at Perspectives Charter School and as the principal of Calumet High School of Technology. Pajakowski is a New Leaders for New Schools Alumni and has previously served as the director of Chicago Public Schools’ Technology Services eLearning Office. He started his career as a teacher at Thurgood Marshall Middle School, located on Chicago’s North-West Side.

Pajakowski attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, the University of Notre Dame and holds his undergraduate degree from Northeastern Illinois University. He earned a Masters in Education in Curriculum and Technology from the University of Phoenix and a second Masters Degree in Administration and Supervision from National Louis University.

tpajakowski@uchicagocharter.org

Will Torres - Chief College Officer

Will Torres serves as Chief College Officer of the University of Chicago Charter School. Torres is responsible for promoting a college going culture that ensures UChicago Charter graduates receive the support that they need to meet the school’s goal for 100% college acceptance and graduation.

Prior to joining UEI, Torres most recently worked as the Assistant Dean of Admissions at Pomona College in California. Torres holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Black Studies and English from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

willtorres@uchicago.edu

Aneesa Sergeant - Campus Director, North Kenwood/Oakland
Jarred Brown

Mrs. Sergeant most recently served as Assistant Director of our own UChicago Charter School Donoghue Campus, where she contributed to Donoghue’s rise to a Level 1 school. She has extensive experience in observing classroom practice, analyzing data to drive instruction, designing and delivering high-quality professional development, and creating measurable and manageable action steps to address areas of opportunity.

Prior to her time at Donoghue, she served students and families as an instructional coach at the Academy for Urban School Leadership and as a middle and elementary school teacher.

Mrs. Sergeant holds a B.A. in Mid-Level Education from Illinois State University and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi..

asergeant@uchicagocharter.org

Erin Gilmore Slack - Campus Director, Donoghue

Erin Gilmore Slack is the Director of the Donoghue (DON) Campus.

Prior to assuming the role of Campus Director at Donoghue, Erin served as the Resident Principal at Belding Elementary through a partnership between Dominican University and the Chicago Leadership Collaborative. Through her residency experience, Erin was able to focus on providing instructional coaching to teachers, leading professional development and data analysis sessions and facilitating parent engagement workshops. Erin started her teaching career in the West Englewood neighborhood as a 4th grade teacher in Chicago Public Schools. She then served the Donoghue campus for 5 years as both a 3rd grade teacher and instructional coach. Erin is passionate about building partnerships that will accelerate the development of young scholars into leaders who will have a positive impact on the community.

As a career changer, Erin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from DePaul University and started her professional career in pharmaceutical sales. She then attended Northwestern University, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Dominican University.

eringilmore@uchicagocharter.org

Jarred Brown - Assistant Director, Donoghue

Jarred BrownMr. Brown began his journey in education at Lionel Hampton Fine and Performing Arts Elementary School, where he spent several years as a fourth-grade math and social studies teacher before joining the school’s leadership team in 2005 as Curriculum Coordinator and Parent Facilitator. He then served as Lionel Hampton’s Assistant Principal for three years before joining the UChicago Charter School.

At UChicago Charter, Mr. Brown served as Assistant Director of the Carter G. Woodson (CGW) campus for seven years before serving as CGW Director for the past three years. 

Mr. Brown holds a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Illinois State University and an M.A. in Education Administration from Saint Xavier University.

jarredbrown@chicagocharter.org

 

Dr. Daena Adams - Campus Director, Woodlawn High School

Dr. Daena AdamsDr. Adams is a career educator who most recently served as Operations Manager for the Chicago Public Schools District’s High School Network 16. In this role, she was responsible for designing comprehensive systems and structures to support network-wide improvement, and her work led to the network having the highest attendance gains across the school district. Dr. Adams also served as Director of Intervention and Enrichment Programming and a teacher-leader at Kenwood Academy High School, and as Assistant Principal at TEAM Englewood Community Academy.

Dr. Adams holds a B.A. in History, an M.S. in Teaching, an M.S.Ed. in Special Education, an M.S.Ed. in Education Administration, and an Ed.D. in Supervision and Leadership. She also holds an Illinois Superintendent’s Endorsement.

dbadams@uchicagocharter.org

 

Donald Gordon - Campus Director, Woodlawn Middle School

Donald GordonMr. Gordon began his career working in the District of Columbia Public Schools as a history teacher and most recently served as Principal at Frazier Elementary Charter School in Chicago. Mr. Gordon also served as Dean of Students at Chicago’s Fenger Academy High School and Director of Student Development and Interventions at the Gresham School of Excellence. In all of Mr. Gordon’s leadership roles, he has demonstrated effective ways to lead his team, create a safe and productive school environment for scholars, and maintain positive relationships with parents and community stakeholders.

Mr. Gordon holds a B.A. from Hampton University and completed the Building Excellent Schools Emerging Leadership Program in 2017.

dgordon@uchicagocharter.org

 

Dr. Ayodeji Ogunniyi - Assistant Campus Director, Woodlawn High School

Born in Nigeria and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Mr. Ogunniyi has served as an educator for the past eleven years and describes his life’s work as reimagining education for underserved youth. As a teacher serving in Title I schools, he was recognized for his data-driven and unorthodox styles of instruction. As a teacher leader, he developed district-wide ELA curricula, led grade-level teams, coordinated SAT workshops for teachers and students, and co-developed an innovative, multi-tiered mentorship program for “at-risk” students.

Mr. Ogunniyi holds an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Concordia University, an M.Ed. in Ethical Leadership from Olivet Nazarene University, and a B.A. in English from Roosevelt University.

 

aogunniyi@uchicagocharter.org

UChicago Charter School

A Division of the Urban Education Institute
at the University of Chicago

info@uchicagocharter.org

773-834-2865

1313 E 60th Street, Chicago IL 60637