Tanika Island Childress
Tanika Island Childress is the chief executive officer of the University of Chicago Charter School, where she leads a team of educators serving more than 1,500 preK-12 students across three campuses in Chicago's South Side communities.
Prior to assuming her current role at the UChicago Charter School, Island Childress served as director of the UChicago Urban Teacher Education Program (UChicago UTEP) and as the chief academic officer for the UChicago Charter School. She also served for six years as the director of the UChicago Charter School's North Kenwood/Oakland (NKO) Campus, which has been recognized as a model program for schools nationwide. During her tenure as director of NKO, Island Childress was recognized with a Community School Leadership Award in 2012 from the Federation of Community Schools and a Principal Achievement Award from the Chicago Public Schools district in 2013. She also served as a member of the Aspen Institute's Council of Distinguished Educators on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development.
Before joining the University of Chicago, Island Childress was an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University's Teaching Practicum and Field Experience Seminar and facilitated weekly discussions on educational theory and practice. From 1997 to 2001, Island Childress was the 4th grade team leader for Martin L. King Experimental Laboratory School in Evanston, Illinois, where she took on the roles of Language Arts district representative, School Literacy Committee member, Teachers as Readers Committee member, a Sisterhood Project mentor and coordinator of Battle of the Books inter-school competition.
Island Childress received a BA in education with a concentration in psychology from National Louis University in Chicago. In May 2008, she received an MA in literacy education from Loyola University and received a leadership fellowship through the University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute.