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NLU Partners To Prepare High Schoolers For Teaching Careers High School District 214 in Northwest Suburbs, NLU launch Educator Prep program

D214 Educator Prep

NLU educators and administrators were at Rolling Meadows High School for High School District 214’s launch of the Educator Prep program. They witnessed two dozen students indicate their interest in teaching by joining the program.

National Louis University and High School District 214 in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs partnered to launch a first-of-its-kind in the nation program called Educator Prep.

It allows high school students, as early as freshman year, to declare their intention to become teachers, and supports them through high school and then college, through to employment as an educator in a primary or secondary school.

Educator Prep begins with a sequence of high school courses that provide students with an orientation to the career of education, opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge required to be an educator, authentic opportunities to observe and teach in a variety of classroom environments, and opportunities to gain early college credit in courses related to education.

After graduating from high school, students are able to continue in Educator Prep with NLU or another postsecondary partner. They will have the opportunity to gain a bachelor’s degree and teaching certification related to their career area of interest. Students will also receive continued professional support from and develop relationships with the program’s primary and secondary partners through clinicals, observations and professional development activities.

Students continuing the Educator Prep program at the postsecondary level will be guaranteed a student teaching placement in District 214 or one of its partner districts. Upon successful completion of student teaching, students will be guaranteed employment interviews with the primary and secondary partners if openings exist.

“Educator Prep ensures we can identify and develop the next generation of high quality teachers while also continuing to build the middle class in our communities,” wrote D214 Superintendent David Schuler.


Pioneer, Reach Awards Presented at Elegant NLU Event Speakers inspired attendees at gala fundraiser



Jacqueline Samuel, from left, Amanda Leftwich, Arne Duncan and Matthew King posed for a photo at the Reach Awards. Duncan received the Pioneer Award, while the others received the Reach Award.

NLU alumni, donors and friends arrived at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower Hotel Tuesday to honor one of the United States’ most influential education leaders and three NLU alumni who are exercising their knowledge and leadership in ways that bring positive change to communities.

As guests arrived, they greeted classmates and friends during a cocktail hour dramatized by the Sofitel’s sleek architecture. After they took their seats in a huge ballroom beautified by pink orchid sprays on the tables, Emcee Karen Jordan, an anchor at ABC7 News, introduced NLU President Nivine Megahed.


Mike Koldyke, founder of the Golden Apple Foundation, Patricia Koldyke, Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner and NLU President Nivine Megahed celebrated NLU’s successes at the Reach Awards.

“Education, more than ever, is our strongest vehicle for economic opportunity. It is our strongest hope for social equity,” Megahed said, explaining how NLU has created the Harrison Professional Pathways as a quality program, at an affordable price point, to help students from modest-income homes attain their bachelor’s degrees.

She also told guests about how NLU educators created the Adaptive Cycles of Teaching instructional design to place aspiring teachers in the classroom, then use technology and expert educational leaders to give them feedback loops about how they performed. As a result, students performed significantly better than expected both on written tests and in classroom confidence.

“We do this work at NLU because we believe it’s our moral obligation to be sure every student has a great education,” she declared.


NLU Board President Scott Smith, left, congratulates former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan upon receiving NLU’s Pioneer Award.”We do this work at NLU because we believe it’s our moral obligation to be sure every student has a great education,” she declared.

Guests feasted on filet mignon and creme brûlée during the dinner, which then gave way to the awards portion of the event.

Matthew King

Matthew King, the Reach award winner from NLU’s National College of Education and a change agent in education, is executive director and principal of EPIC Academy College Prep Charter High School since 2009. In accepting the award, he referenced the popular anecdote about a man throwing beached starfish back into the sea. When a bystander opines that he can’t possibly make a difference because there are far too many thousands of starfish, the man tosses one in the water and replies, “It made a difference for that one.”

King declared that NLU and OneGoal would abandon a “toss one in the water” approach because it’s random and lacks strategy. Instead, they would study the data, find out why starfish get beached and find more efficient ways to get them back in the water. And their goal would be to help 100 percent of the starfish thrive, he indicated, just as NLU and EPIC strive to help all students succeed.

Jacqueline Samuels

Last summer, Jackie Samuels, the Reach award winner in the College of Professional Studies and Advancement, surveyed 126 people in the South Chicago neighborhood, where she works as senior program director for Claretian Associates, a housing and human services provider. Of those surveyed, 51% indicated they had witnessed a shooting.

“If you had to live with that kind of trouble, what would your life look like?” she asked, noting that even everyday activities like going to school or to the park put residents at risk. Then she posed a more philosophical question to her listeners: “How do we heal our communities?”

With her activities as director of the Chicago Public Schools’ Safe Passage program, the Southeast Chicago Coalition for the Arts and South Chicago/South Shore Ceasefire, as well as a quality of life plan for the South Chicago area, Samuels is determined to be part of the healing process.

“I will not tolerate the injustices of the world, because NLU has strengthened my voice,” she declared.

Amanda Leftwich

After acknowledging she has struggled with learning challenges all her life, Amanda Leftwich, winner of the P.A.C.E. Reach award, thanked her parents for doing diligent research and finding NLU’s P.A.C.E. program.

“P.A.C.E. has impacted my life in ways I never could have imagined,” she said, explaining she gained many life skills, including those which equip her to live in an apartment with her roommate and best friend, and to hold a paid career position. She works as a teacher’s aide at Rush University Medical Center’s daycare center, aiding in the growth and development of babies and toddlers. Recently, she earned her Level 1 ECE (early childhood education) credential.

“I accept this award on behalf of present and future P.A.C.E. students who will also rise above their challenges,” she said.

Arne Duncan

After serving as U.S. Secretary of Education from 2009 until last December, Arne Duncan is back in his hometown and energized to use education as a tool to reduce Chicago’s violence by providing its underprivileged young people with opportunities .

NLU awarded Duncan its Pioneer Award, which is bestowed on individuals with exceptional character, a sense of higher purpose in life and work, and a record of increasing opportunities for others.

After thanking NLU for its focus on access, affordability, innovation and completion, Duncan took a frank look at education in the U.S today, saying that even though the college graduation rate for Latinos has increased from 8 to 15 percent in the past two decades, and the rate for African Americans has gone from 13 to 23 percent, that is nowhere near adequate.

“We can’t talk about education today without talking about race and class and opportunity, or lack thereof, and privilege, or lack thereof,” he said, noting Illinois has a school funding formula riddled with inequity.

“What NLU can do to challenge the status quo among schools of education is to talk boldly about how important excellence is in education, how transformative great teachers are,” he said. “So the opportunity for NLU to lead that national conversation is both huge and desperately needed.”

Duncan reflected that his return to Chicago has been bittersweet, with joy at seeing old friends tinged with upset at seeing the city’s level of violence, and the lack of education, job and life opportunities for 17 to 24-year-old men of color, who statistically are most often the shooters and victims, he said.  Duncan has taken a position with the Emerson Collective, which will work specifically with men in this population who are neither in school nor working.

“I’m convinced we can’t police our way out of this. We have to compete with gangs, to give these young men jobs,” Duncan declared.

“We have to create jobs and opportunities on the South and West sides, because young men are convinced they’re making pretty rational choices to go with the gangs and sell drugs, because they don’t have other alternatives.”

He challenged listeners to do more to help this specific population, who may not have had the best schools or the most functional families, and are struggling.

“If we come together we can pretty radically change this,” he concluded.








Grads: Turn LinkedIn Connections into Networking Opportunities

By Consiglia Intile, Assistant Director of Career Services 

LinkedIn_logo_initialsAs a job seeker, you may come to dread the very notion of networking with valuable LinkedIn connections. After all, these people may hold the keys to your career, provided you make the right first impression. To help remedy your nerves and provide a nice confidence boost, let’s explore some common do’s and don’ts of connecting on LinkedIn.

Do: Research your potential networking contacts and their companies

This is the first step job seekers should take prior to any conversation that is started on LinkedIn or any other networking venue. Job seekers should review the employer’s and the connection’s page and identify something they enjoyed reading or found interesting or instructive. These items can serve as the basis for an initial conversation. Also, adding a question about their background experience can show your connection-to-be that your intent is to learn from them. Forming a friendly relationship in which you are appealing to your connection’s expertise is often an effective way to network.

Do: Prepare questions in advance of the conversation

This is an important piece of any networking conversation. Often, networking should be treated as an informational interview. Job seekers should focus on starting the interview with a general professional greeting, and use questions such as “tell me how you got started in this field?,” “What was your background before entering the field?,” “What do you find most rewarding/challenging about your field?,” and “What can I do to prepare for a career in this field?” Having questions like these prepared in advance shows the employer that you respect their time and shows you put effort into making this conversation productive.

Don’t: Leave the ball in their court

After conducting an informational interview, don’t leave it up to your connection to stay in touch. It is very important to follow up with your contact by sending a thank-you letter afterwards. To ensure your thank-you letter is effective, write down your thoughts and impressions of the meeting and address anything that you might have missed during your conversation. Sending this letter can bring about a closer tie with this contact which can result in a recommendation or future opportunities with their company.

Don’t: Expect or ask the connection if they can help you get a job

This is a very common question many job seekers ask their connections on LinkedIn. Asking this too early or at all may come across as desperate or insincere which will cause your connection to think this is the only reason  you contacted them in the first place. This should be avoided at all measures on LinkedIn because it is seen to be very unprofessional. The goal is to make a great first impression with your contact, have a thought-out discussion with them in hopes they would think of you when there is an open position for which you are qualified. If you made an impact on the employer or connection, they may contact you about available positions.

How do you develop Administrative Leadership skills? When promoted into administration, writer found two resources helpful

shutterstock_290031071Enjoy this blog post from NLU’s McCormick Center for Early Leadership blog. In a recent Whole Leadership post on the McCormick blog, Teri Talan introduced administrative leadership by considering its definition and importance. This led Tarah Kadzielawski to wonder, how do you improve administrative leadership skills? She reflects on her experience as a strong teacher who was promoted into administration. She shares her journey, the advice she’d give her younger self, and her favorite resources for developing administrative leadership.

by Tarah Kadzielawski


In last week’s Whole Leadership post, Teri Talan started us in a new direction, Administrative Leadership. My personal background is similar to many other program leaders in our field—I was a strong teacher who was promoted into administration. In my personal experience with administrative leadership, I felt I could handle pedagogical leadership and thought I had many leadership essentials; however, I knew I was in need of some support and resources to build up my administrative leadership skills. (In hindsight I’m sure I was in need of more resources for pedagogical leadership and leadership essentials as well, but that is a different blog post.)

To build up my administrative leadership skills, I turned to the resources at my disposal. There were director’s networks—I was involved in—related to different funding sources such as Head Start and state pre-K. However, these didn’t provide the administrative leadership skill development that I sought. Two professional learning opportunities that I participated in did help develop my administrative leadership skills: Continue reading »

Students, It’s Time to Network for Your Future Job Don't wait until you have your diploma; start now


By: Christine Andrelczyk, NLU Career Services Advisor

shutterstock_56739871College is a busy time. Between classes, homework and exams, it can be easy to lose sight of the ultimate reason for attending college in the first place: your career. Nowadays, 70% of jobs are attained through networking, so be sure to take some time out of your busy schedule to start making valuable professional connections. Below are a few strategies you can use to build up your network while you’re still in school.

Start right away. A common misconception is that you only need to network when you’re actively job hunting. This is a myth! Just like any other investment, your network needs time to grow before you can begin reaping the benefits. Don’t wait until graduation to make your first connection. Start now by joining clubs or professional organizations and attending networking events on campus.

Put down the phone. Social media platforms like LinkedIn make networking quicker and easier than ever before, but that doesn’t mean all of your contacts should be digital. Instead, use social media as a jumping off point. Facebook and Twitter can be great places to find out about networking events happening on campus. Use LinkedIn to join professional groups that host regular, in-person meetings in your community. Social media can also help you spark a conversation with recruiters, alumni, and other professionals in your field.

It’s okay to feel awkward, but don’t shy away from networking because the idea of meeting new people sounds intimidating. Adopt a host mentality to boost your confidence in social situations. NLU Career Advisor Paula Rucci Voigt explains, “Hosts go out of their way to introduce others and make them aware of what they might have in common. Their goal is to help create connections between their guests in an effort to make them more comfortable.” By thinking of yourself as a host rather than a guest, you’re empowering yourself to take control of the situation and make sure everyone walks away satisfied.

Talk to your professors. You may be used to seeing your professors in the classroom, but they’re also experts in their given field or industry. Your professors can offer a wealth of knowledge about what it’s like to work in your field and different career options for your major. They may also have insight on what experiences you should gain during college to best transition into your future career.

Connect with professionals. The best way to learn about a particular job is to talk to someone who’s currently working in that position. Don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals in your field to schedule an informational interview. This is a brief, structured conversation where you can ask day-in-the-life questions about a particular job or company, or find out how to break into the field. If you’re not sure what job or field you’re interested in, don’t worry: These conversations can help you decide.

How To Stand Out at a Career Fair Follow these eight tips to make a positive impression


By Consiglia M. Intile, MA, NCC
NLU Assistant Director of Career Services

See upcoming NLU Career Fairs here

Attending career fairs is an excellent strategy for job seekers. Most job seekers face the challenge of getting a face-to-face interview with employers;  career fairs give you an opportunity to shake hands with the employer’s representatives and make your first impression count. To make sure you create a positive lasting impression, follow these eight tips below.

1). Research, Record, and Review

Once you register for the career fair in advance, you will have the opportunity to view the companies that will be attending. You can upload your resume on each employer’s website so they will have a copy on file. Research the companies, read their mission statements, goals and values, and make a list of the companies that interest you. You can jot down the company name and its mission statement on a piece of paper and review it before the day of the career fair. Continue reading »

‘Tis the Season for Career Networking Continue your job search during the holidays

By Consiglia Intile, Assistant Director of Career Services, National Louis University

NetworkingHolidaysThe holidays are here and you decide to finally take a break from career searching to celebrate the festivities, because you have the notion that companies will not hire during the holiday, but this is in fact false. This is actually the time of year when employers have more free time since their colleagues take time off work. To make the best use of this time and kick your career search into high gear, here are some tips that will help you stay on top of your job search during the holidays. Also, continuing your search over the holidays shows employers you are hardworking and serious about finding a position and they will find this impressive. Continue reading »

Overcome Your Fear of Networking by Adopting a Host Mentality You're there to help others connect, not just for yourself

By Paula Rucci Voigt, National Louis University Career Development Office

networkingYou may have heard the phrase, “Your Network Is Your Net Worth.” Noting that studies have shown that networking is the most effective way to land a job, it is evident that networking is essential to the health of your personal brand, your career, and your job search strategy. defines networking as “a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.” Sounds simple and straightforward, right? Continue reading »

The Networked Educator: Building Relationships For Your Career in Teaching By: Christine Andrelczyk, NLU Career Services Advisor

150303-educator-job-fair-014Networking is more than a buzzword: it is a tool, a plan, and a strategy. It can help you secure your first job, but also extends beyond that to form the foundation of your future career.

Statistics show that 70% of jobs are landed through networking[1]. Chances are you’ve heard of at least one friend or classmate getting recruited from LinkedIn, or scoring a job at a hiring event. Continue reading »