John Ayers, former vice president and treasurer of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in Stanford, CA, is now executive director for the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University in New Orleans. Ayers held a number of Chicago school reform positions, including executive director of Leadership for Quality Education (LQE), which promoted improved principal preparation and charter schools.

Catching up on board actions at the last two meetings, here’s a roundup of new principal contracts Stephen Ngo, Steinmetz High, formerly principal at World Language Academy; Tawana Williams, Brighton Park, formerly assistant principal at Faraday; Wendy Oleksy, Columbus, formerly principal at Marquette; Maureen Ready, Portage Park, formerly instructional support leader in the Ravenswood-Ridge Network; Gregory Jones, Kenwood, formerly interim principal at Kenwood.

And the following assistant principals became principals at their schools: Mary Kay Cappitelli, Taft High; Michelle Ludford-Naggatz, Beaubien; Trina Tucker, Harold Washington; James Cosme, Falconer; Christopher Dignam, Lane Technical High; Ruth Martini, Addams; Nathan Pietrini, Ogden and Donna Oberhardt, Edison.

Urban Students Empowered, a program that works with teachers to help students enroll and stay in college and graduate, got a makeover this month. The organization is now OneGoal and plans to branch out to Houston. The program identifies, trains and supports teachers who work with underperforming high school students to help them reach their full potential and graduate from college.

George Washington High School student Christopher Loehrke placed first in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Chicago 9th Annual Citywide Business Plan Competition. Aja Beckham and T’erra Williams, students from Perspectives Leadership Academy, came in second. The three competed against 1,500 CPS students citywide. Loehrke is the founder of Signature Skating, a custom skateboard business. Beckham and Williams co-founded Lip Splash, a custom-made lip gloss party for young women. The three will compete in NFTE’s National Youth Entrepreneurship in New York in October.

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