Educating Global Citizens
Mrs. Lauren Norwood, Principal
Mr. Matt Condon, Assistant Principal
About our Principal and Assistant Principal

                                                                                 August 2016                                               

 Dear Parents:

The 2016-17 school year is upon us, and to that we say:

“Happy New Year”

We are looking forward to a great year with new and exciting things happening each day for your rocket. I will be pleased to meet Kindergarten families on August 18th and 19th.  There is a Kindergarten play date scheduled for Friday August 19th from 5:00pm till 6:30pm.  It is a great time for incoming Kindergarten students to meet one another.  

Our Back to School barbecue will be held Friday, September 16th (see attached flyer).

I have had the opportunity to meet and/or talk with many of you over the summer, and there is still time to schedule a meeting or conversation if you’d like.

On the first day of school (Wednesday, August 24th) the PTA and I welcome you to join us for refreshments and conversation right after entry (approximately 8:15am).   If you have time between drop off and beginning your day; please join us.  There will be opportunities for you to learn more about PTA and take on volunteer roles with PTA if you’d like. 

I hope that all of you have enjoyed a wonderful summer.  We are asking that each rocket bring information to share about their summer experience.  We want to add their experiences to the hall of fame.  The things we’d love to hear include but are not limited to:

 A place they visited... A book they read.. A new food they tasted.

A person they met... Something new they tried... An event they attended

Each rockets submission should be no larger than a 4 x 6 index card.  They have the autonomy to make it as creative as they would like.  We are looking forward to seeing them.

This year we want to kick off the year with an assembly for all students.  This assembly will cover a little bit about our morning announcements, student governments, peer buddies/mentors, and our “Bully Free” campaign.  We want students to be excited about school, feel safe, and know how they contribute positively to the environment; we will be working with the YWCA on this project.

Mr. Condon and I along with our wonderful staff are looking forward to this school year; we hope that you are ready to embrace this “new year” as well. 



Lauren Norwood

From Matthew Condon, Assistant Principal

I did not set out to be an administrator; I am and always will be an educator! I have a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education English from the University of Iowa, and grew up in Crystal Lake, IL teaching all levels of students every summer to love and appreciate swimming. After college, I taught intermediate and honors English in McHenry, IL and enjoyed working with students outside the classroom as the varsity head coach for tennis. Although this was a rewarding experience, I wanted an adventure so I moved to Monterrey, Mexico to teach English in an international school (K-9). This was an exceptionally rewarding pursuit and cemented my desire to learn about new cultures and help all student populations succeed academically and emotionally.

 Following my two years in Mexico, I served at-risk students in Chicago and elected to teach a 6th grade Reading and Writing Workshop in West Humbolt Park in a K-8 school. Everyday was a challenge and helped shape my belief that all students can learn/progress no matter the socio-economic status or proficiency level. And, by chance, it helped uncover my passion for helping colleagues as a mentor teacher and working with instructors to perfect their craft, and led me to a position as Humanities Instructional Leader and Department Chair in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. During that time I received my master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Chicago.  

 Most recently, I worked as assistant principal at Nichols Middle School in D65 for three years. From helping staff in their professional endeavors to creating data systems to annually getting dunked in the dunk tank, I embraced it all and loved every minute of helping that community of teachers, parents and scholars. And now that I have been presented with this new opportunity in the Bessie Rhodes community I am eager to learn of all of the good work that I keep hearing about and determining how I may best support your needs.


When not at school,  I love spending time with my wife, Rebecca, who is a teacher at Haven Middle School and my daughter, Katy. I also enjoy being active outdoors, traveling and eating probably more than I should.