Friday, August 26, 2016

New Thornwood Principal Proof of Education’s Power

Chyla Weaver might have once been a reluctant educator, but that was long ago.

A pre-journalism major at the University of Illinois, her high school sweetheart and future husband suggested she consider teaching, the career he was pursuing.

“I thought ‘no way’ but then thought that maybe (teaching) is what I want to do,” Weaver said.

It was. She switched to English, got her secondary education certification and was on her way.

Weaver started the 2016-17 school year as the new principal at Thornwood Elementary.

Growing up in the tough Englewood section on Chicago’s South Side, she was the neighborhood tutor, and teachers told her that she explained things well. “I was the nurturer,” she said.

“School was my safe haven,” said Weaver. “I had teachers who loved me and supported me. I can name them all … Even around (age) 10 I knew I should go to college. No one I knew went to college.”

She switched her major to education, and the rest is history in the making.

“I see what the power of education can do,” Weaver said. “It put me in a different place in life.” Then she adds: “I love children. It’s corny but I really do.”

Her career path has taken her through the ranks, from teacher to assistant principal to instructional coach to principal. Her prior position was principal at Grant-White Intermediate Center in Chicago.

As a principal, she focuses on a lot of things but tries not to lose sight of what it’s about – teaching and learning.

“The job is a lot of management,” said Weaver. “Every day you have to make a conscious effort to stay focused on teaching and learning.” She said that when she needs a respite from the demands of being a principal, she slips into a classroom and watches the teaching and learning taking place.

Weaver came to Houston with her husband and her high school sweetheart – D’Andre Weaver, one of three community superintendents hired this summer.

Both coming from impoverished backgrounds, they know that education can break the cycle of poverty. Chyla Weaver points to she and D’Andre’s own two young daughters, who have college-educated parents in steady, productive careers.

“Now my kids,” she said, “have broken the cycle of poverty.”

BA – English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
ME – Educational Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
EdD – in progress – Educational Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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