Erin Roche

Erin Roche
Chicago, Illinois
2019 Campus Principal Ambassador Fellow
Elementary Principal, Prescott School

Bio/Overview: Erin has served as the principal at diverse Prescott School of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) as well as school leadership in the district since 2003. Erin passionately engages with schools, districts, and partners to positively impact on children, especially by nurturing high-functioning teams. A non-selective neighborhood school, Prescott students annually garner top rankings for the school in the top 10% nationally on the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). Recently, Prescott was honored as a 2019 National Blue-Ribbon School awardee; in 2019 and 2016, Prescott School was ranked in the top 15 schools by Chicago Magazine; in 2018 and 2019, Prescott was one of 13 schools of 650+ in Chicago for fulfilling all four areas of Healthy Schools. Previously, on Chicago’s Lower West Side neighborhood of La Villita, Erin taught middle school Language Arts and Math in a primarily Mexican American student body. Erin and his wife, Paula, are lucky to have three magical children-Connor, Lauren, and Jameson!

Leadership Experience: Erin is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), a statewide, public, residential school for gifted students in grades 10-12. As a voting member of the Illinois Balanced Accountability Measures (IBAM) Committee of the Illinois State Board of Education, he provides input to state interpretation of ESSA accountability of and supports for schools. Previously, he sat on the Green Star Movement’s Board of Directors, which engages students and communities to build public mosaics. He also served on Ingenuity’s Data & Research Panel, which works to increase access, equity, and quality to the arts for all students in CPS and served the Chicago Public Education Fund Advisory Council. In Chicago’s Mexican American neighborhood Little Village, Erin was a co-founding teacher of Telpochcalli School, which, as part of the small school movement, focused on Mexican fine arts and culture.

Educational Values/Philosophy: Educational attainment is a passport to economic and social justice, so schools act as a gatekeeper to individual and society’s success. High-quality schools transform students’ lives by embracing students and their families in holistic learning across content areas, the arts, social-emotional learning, and civic engagement. Schools must also acknowledge the child’s context– e.g., special needs, poverty, second language learner- and orchestrate resources to help the child reach our high expectations. Parents are our children’s first teachers, so we educators must respect their knowledge of their children and enlist them as partners. Teachers and staff can work together collaboratively to define problems, engage children in solving them, and continue the problem-solving cycle.

Achievements: The Chicago Children’s Choir recognized Erin as a Community Champion and was WGN’s Chicago’s Very Own. Erin was a Chicago Principals Fellow at Northwestern University in 2016-17. He was a finalist for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Leadership in honor of Stanley C. Golder in 2016. Erin participated in a Fulbright-Hayes Summer Seminar in Mexico and the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar in Latino Literature in San Antonio, TX.

Affiliations: Erin leads Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for the Chicago Public Education Fund, while also serving previously on the CPEF’s Advisory Committee. As a graduate of New Leaders, he also contributed to its Advisory Committee. His schools have had long-standing partnerships with the Erikson Institute, which focuses on early childhood teacher preparation and research. He learned Spanish fluently while in the Peace Corps (Honduras).

Education: Erin earned his EdD from Vanderbilt University, MA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, BA in Mathematics and Elementary Education at Knox College, AA from Elgin Community College, and Charter Class of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. He achieved principal certification through New Leaders. He is a renewed National Board-Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence- English Language Arts and licensed in Illinois to teach high school math, elementary education, English as a Second Language, and Bilingual (Spanish) education; and holds Illinois principal and superintendent licenses (Loyola University).

Areas of Interest:

  • Equity and excellence in education
  • Developing Professional Learning Communities
  • Data-driven school improvement
  • Cultivating school community
  • Holistic learning
  • Arts education