By Krinstin Boza
JaMonica Marion was named the new principal at Clissold Elementary School, 2350 W. 110th Pl, in September. A graduate of Mount Greenwood Elementary School and the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS), Marion brings a depth of experience with students of all ages to encourage the Clissold Cougars to “climb higher.”
Marion’s career began at CHSAS, where she taught in the careers and leadership department and also served as a college and career coach, ultimately working her way up to become the Agriculture Department Chair. Her strength in curriculum development and relationship–building led to her students being afforded opportunities to make connections with universities and agriculture industry companies.
Seeking additional administrative opportunities, Marion moved on to a Resident Principal position at Matthew Gallistel Language Academy, where she focused her efforts on increasing attendance and working closely with the bilingual advisory committee and parent advisory committee with the goal of providing parents with the resources to support their children outside of the school building.
As she settles into her new role as Clissold principal, Marion is also set on completing a Doctorate in Education through National Louis University, focusing her dissertation on the high school drop-out crisis and finding ways to enhance the opportunities of external organizations to provide wraparound services to students in need. Marion holds two masters degrees, one in technology education and the other in educational leadership, in addition to numerous endorsements in general science, language arts, computer science, technology and agricultural science.
Hard work and discipline are instilled in Marion’s personality, and she hopes to inspire Clissold students to put forth the same effort. “I spent the majority of my career at Chicago High School of Agricultural Sciences, and I got to know the kids and the community; I understand the supports that kids need to make successful transitions to the next part of their life” Marion said. “I’m able to talk to parents and students about why what they do now in elementary school matters for high school, college and the workforce. Our kids will be successful because I know what is needed from them in high school — I’m bringing that idea down to the elementary school level so that they are fully equipped with the skill sets they need to push their trajectory even further.”
In the short-term, Marion seeks to ensure that communication with parents is paramount. “I want parents to understand what their students are achieving and learning in the classroom, and more importantly, how parents can continue that learning at home,” Marion said. “I also will communicate with the community through my Coffee and Snack with a Principal program. We are a neighborhood school, so I want to be able to share the good things that are going on in our school with the community.”
Partnering with local businesses is also a priority, as a way to develop relationships to support the students’ learning as they take what is happening in the classroom and apply it to the real world. All of these tactics will be used to create a strong foundation to ultimately increase student enrollment and increase retention.
“The most exciting part of being Clissold’s principal is coming into a school with strong family involvement. Everyone is willing to jump in and help, and many have reached out to me to ask what I need and how they can support me,” Marion said. “It’s great to see so many parents involved in helping our students achieve success.”