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District 65 Announces New Dawes Principal

At the April 22, 2019 Regular Meeting, the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 School Board approved Marlene Aponte-Mathews as the next principal of Dawes Elementary School. Mrs. Aponte-Mathews will officially begin in her new role on July 1, 2019. Juliana Perisin will continue to serve as interim principal for the remainder of the 2018-2019 school year.


“I am pleased to welcome Mrs. Aponte-Mathews to Dawes Elementary and the District 65 team,” said Superintendent Paul Goren. “She is a veteran educator and a tremendous leader. I am confident in her ability to connect with and engage the community in the important work that lies ahead in both the short- and long-term. Mrs. Aponte-Mathews has shared her excitement to hit the ground running - taking an active part in transition planning and immediately getting to know Dawes staff, students, and families.”


As part of the principal selection process, a diverse group of teachers, educational support staff, parents/guardians, and administrators worked in collaboration to develop a leadership profile that identified the skills and attributes desired for the next Dawes principal. The information contained within the leadership profile was used to narrow down the applicant pool and develop interview questions. Staff and families were invited to attend a community forum to meet the candidates being considered for school principal. Following the community forum, each candidate met with the school interview committee comprised of teachers, parents/guardians, and administrators. Committee members were selected through an open nomination process. As the final step in the process, Superintendent Paul Goren conducted extensive final interviews, including site visits, with the final candidates that were considered to be the best potential fit for the important leadership role.


“In District 65 we take extra steps, outside of the normal hiring process for most districts, to ensure school leadership searches are thoughtful, thorough, and provide opportunities for community involvement,” said Superintendent Goren. As we reviewed the final candidates, Mrs. Aponte-Mathews’ qualifications stood out as a great match for Dawes and District 65.”


Mrs. Aponte-Mathews has extensive experience as an instructional coach for teachers and on fostering academic growth for all students. She is committed to maintaining a welcoming and supportive learning environment with a focus on equity, examining institutional bias, and to preserving and celebrating students’ identities through culturally relevant and responsive instruction. Mrs. Aponte-Mathews has 17 years of educational experience ranging from a bilingual (Spanish and English) classroom teacher, reading and math interventionist, instructional specialist, resident principal, and, most recently, as the Director of Instructional Coaching for the Academy for Urban School Leadership. Mrs. Aponte-Mathews has a Bachelor's Degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from the College of Staten Island, and is pursuing her Doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.