Cheryl DeRoo is a product of Elgin School District U-46 and a graduate of Elgin High School. She received her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Eastern Illinois University and her master’s in education with her Type 75 from Aurora University. DeRoo taught for many years in the primary grades in U-46 prior to becoming an instructional coach, where she had the opportunity to lead and learn with teacher and administrators throughout the district.  Their support and encouragement led her to becoming a principal at Glenbrook where she has been for nine years.

(Photo Courtesy of Cheryl DeRoo)

(Photo Courtesy of Cheryl DeRoo)

DeRoo shares her experiences and insights on being an elementary principal.

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What are the responsibilities of your current role?

“I am an instructional leader in a very diverse school. At Glenbrook, we have approximately 55 percent of our students at the poverty level. In addition to our 14 general education classrooms, we also host a variety of educational programs such as dual language, where students from both English-dominant and Spanish-dominant households are learning to be bilingual, biliterate and bicultural in both English and Spanish. Additionally, we house two self-contained special education programs as well as a IGNITE gifted program. As the principal, it is my responsibility to ensure that each student receives the best possible education no matter which program they attend.”

What is your favorite part of your daily duties?

“My greatest joy is spending time with my students. There is nothing better than seeing them grow and reach the goals they set for themselves. Whether it be an academic or social goal each student is unique and has such wonderful gifts to share. It’s truly a joy to go to school each day.”

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Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?

“My education gave me a great start, but the true learning came from the on-the-job training. I have been so fortunate to have wonderful colleagues and mentors at Glenbrook and in U-46 that have supported me through out the years. I will also say that education is changing so quickly that we are learning each day. It’s important that as professionals we continue to be proactive with our own professional growth in order to support those around us.”

Do you have any advice for people who desire to pursue a similar career?

“I think the most important thing is to listen, watch and learn from others. There are so many excellent principals among us that have walked in our shoes. Connect with those in your district, online and in professional organizations. There support and encouragement will help tremendously.”

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Michelle Guilbeau is a writer, reviewer, teacher and business owner living in Chicago, Illinois. She also has experience in school administration, literacy coaching and is proud founder of CraftKitsForKids.com and MichelleGuilbeau.com Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of Chicago, food, travel, education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.