Meet Our New Staff

Jose Salazar, Assistant Principal

I hope you are all doing well, staying healthy, and enjoying a much needed summer break. My name is Jose Salazar, and I am proud and honored to be joining the Oakdale Elementary family as the new Assistant Principal. 
I have had the pleasure of working with some of the leaders in the building the last couple of weeks, and I am very excited that we share the same vision and goals. wanted to take a quick minute out of your time to introduce myself.

I am very excited to be joining such a diverse school community. I spent time as an Entrepreneurship teacher at New Tech @ Zion Benton East, a Project-Based Learning school in Zion and as a Project Lead The Way (STEM) teacher, department lead, and principal intern at Neal Math and Science Academy in North Chicago. As a mentor and department lead, I was motivated to provide students opportunities to grow and explore by empowering teachers to express their professional judgement while working towards common goals. I spent the last two years as the Assistant Principal of Melrose Park Elementary School in Melrose Park. Here, I served a large diverse student population. We focused on the whole child and Culturally and Linguistically Responsive teaching. I believe strongly in students maintaining their culture and identity.

As with most educators, I became a teacher to make a difference in the lives of my students. I am passionate about helping students succeed, not only in the classroom, but outside of the classroom, as well. I believe the best way to accomplish this is to focus on the whole student and utilizing restorative practices. By building positive relationships with students, we can begin to know them and how to help each individual be successful. When we take the time to build positive relationships with all students, staff, and parents, we are letting them know that we genuinely care about them and their success. This leads to creating true collaborative partnerships. My goals are to build and sustain positive relationships with the students, staff, and parents at Oakdale Elementary, support student social-emotional and academic growth through focus on the whole student, support teacher efforts in the classroom, and meet the needs of our families. I look forward to serving you in any way possible, and thank you for this opportunity.

Mrs. Collins, Instructional Coach

Hello everyone! I am so excited to get to know you, learn together, and work as a team to serve the Oakdale community this year. I have shared a little about myself, but I wanted the chance to share a bit more about my background and educational beliefs here. 

I am currently working on my doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction, though I have paused my program for the time being while I learn my new role at Oakdale. My dissertation question is centered around the idea that standards-based teacher-developed curriculum tied to assessment allows teachers to have a deep understanding of the content they need to teach, and thereby leads to higher levels of student achievement. What I have found so far in my research is that when teachers create the curriculum for the students they serve, there are significant gains in student achievement. The process of developing the curriculum serves as professional development for the teachers, and leads them to higher levels of instructional mastery. The work we are doing in this pilot curriculum map project aligns with my core belief of empowering teachers to design and develop the curriculum for their classrooms, and I am so excited to be here to support you in this process.

Personally, I have 3 children (Laura, 29, Sarah, 26, and Matthew, 11) and one grandson (Sarah’s son Parker, 2). I live with my husband Phil (yes, Phil COLLINS) in Arlington Heights, and we have a crazy German Shepherd, Snickers, who loves our family but is a fierce defender from strangers. I am a Rice Krispie treat expert, and love to bake, which I hope to soon share!

I pride myself on being responsive and supportive, and I am here to serve all of you however I can. Please feel free to reach out and ask me questions or for support. I may not have the answer immediately but I will figure it out and get back to you as soon as I can. I am adding a graphic from a personal friend, author Lisa Westman, about the role of a coach and possible ways I may be able to support you, but I am open to any and all ideas as we work together in this most unusual 20-21 school year!       - Chris :-)


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