It is truly an honor to be the principal of Highland School. In my opinion, being a principal is the best job there is because of the exciting work with teachers, children, and parents each and every day--and there is no better place to do these things than at Highland! This community has a strong reputation of celebrating diversity and working together to grow children into productive citizens, prepared for all of the challenges of life; we are successful because of the contributions of all. I am inspired daily by the way we grow as a community, building on past successes and brainstorming together to problem solve as new situations arise.
A Little About Me…
I did not set out in my life to be an educator. I thought I was going to be a scientist! I have a Bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of New Hampshire, which is where I spent most of my childhood. After college, I needed an adventure before becoming a grown up, so I joined the Peace Corps and spent over two years living in a mud hut in the remote bush of Kenya, teaching science to high school students. This experience was truly a turning point in my life, not only because I learned that I am, in fact, a teacher, but also because so many other life lessons were learned. After finishing my tour with the Peace Corps, I moved to Taiwan where I taught English as a Second Language for a while to children as young as four on up to corporate executives.
I came home to the United States to work on my Masters in Education at DePaul University, here in Chicago. At that time, I taught on the West Side of Chicago at DR Cameron School. I taught second and third grade students and learned so much from them. After leaving Cameron School, I taught at Ogden School in Chicago. I taught a fourth/fifth grade split class for a few years before becoming an Instructional Administrator and then Assistant Principal (after more education at DePaul). I left Ogden School to work at Field School in Rogers Park, where I was the Assistant Principal and then the Principal over the course of about seven years.
Most recently I served as the principal of Dawes School in Evanston for thirteen years. Dawes has an incredible community and we worked together to increase the instructional capacity of the teachers, the leadership capacities of parents and I could never say enough wonderful things about the hundreds of kids I had the pleasure of working with and who truly changed my life. I can only hope I gave them as much as they gave me. Along the way, we also had a lot of fun—because school should be fun!
In my free time, I love to do anything outdoors, whether it is hot or cold out. I like to ride my bike, hike, ski, snowshoe, sail, canoe, jump in the lake, etc. I love to travel and learn about how other people live. If I have to stay indoors, I love to read. I go to a yoga class at least once a week to get a good stretch. I am a grandmother to three super-fun kids who live in Colorado.
What's Important To Me In My Work As Your Principal
It is important to me that all members feel a part of the school community. We all have something to add, some unique experiences to share. It is important to me that children are allowed to be children, to ask questions without fear and to be their own creative and wondering selves. We have to recognize the uniqueness in each. It is important to me that we all respect each other, even when we disagree, which we will. We all bring different agendas and perspectives but if we acknowledge that we are all working for what is best for our children, we'll get where we need to be.
I hope that you will feel free to contact me with any concerns, ideas, compliments, etc. about how our school functions. The closer we work together the more successful our school will be! Please feel free to email me anytime or contact me by phone at 847-676-9380. I am here to serve you.
It is truly my pleasure to be your principal.
Karen Bradley, Ed.D.
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