ELL Parent Center director hired for District 219 post
Niles Township ELL Parent Center Director Corrie Wallace will be leaving her job this summer to become director of equity and ELL for Niles Township High School District 219. | File photo
Updated: March 22, 2013 9:55AM
Niles Township English Language Learner Parent Center Director Corrie Wallace will be leaving her job this summer to accept a new position at Niles Township High School District 219.
Wallace will become the high school district’s first director of equity and ELL, which includes overseeing the English language learner programs. Wallace will be responsible for coordinating district initiatives and interventions to meet District 219’s goal of ensuring a quality education for every student, regardless of racial, ethnic or socioeconomic background.
“Thanks to her experience setting up and directing the ELL Parent Center, Corrie has unique knowledge of the needs of families who are new to our country and culture,” said Superintendent Nanciann Gatta. “She understands that our public schools exist for the benefit of everyone who lives in our community. She also has a proven record as an equity leader. She believes that all students are capable of strong academic achievement, and that it is our job to help every student succeed.”
The Niles Township ELL Parent Center was established by the Niles Township Superintendent’s Association in response to the township’s increasing ethnic diversity and the continuing arrival of families new to this country. It offers English classes, access to community services and uniquely designed workshops.
The center has continued to provide more programs and to meet the needs of more families despite budgetary challenges – thanks in large part to Wallace. Under her leadership, the center has served more than 700 parents representing 55 countries and 45 languages since 2008.
Wallace said some of her new responsibilities used to exist under foreign language at District 219, but the restructuring is intended to emphasize equity in students’ ability to learn. ELL is only one part of that equity, she said.
She will look to address any “obstacles or issues of disproportionality” in reaching all students.
Wallace, who started out teaching high school, said she “loves the high school arena” and was immediately interested when she learned of the job.
“I’d like to start setting the framework for what equity looks like in Niles Township and also make sure that the ELL program is the best that it can be for the students,” she said. “It’s challenging because it’s a constantly shifting demographic.”
Her job, she said, is to make sure students are receiving “the best possible tools to succeed at school.”
“There’s a lot of things that fall under equity so it’s really just looking at the organizational structure to make sure we are identifying where there are needs.”
Wallace has mixed emotions because she will have to leave a job she helped create from the ground up. She will play a crucial role in selecting a new director for the center.
Bilingual in Spanish and English, Wallace taught Spanish at Evanston Township High School from 1994 to 2000 and also co-chaired the School Improvement Team, working on issues related to minority student achievement.
When her family moved to Asia for her husband’s job, she created an English program for students at a local school in Tokyo. When her family moved to Singapore, she taught Spanish to children at an international school. Upon her return to the United States in 2007, Wallace worked with the Highwood-Highland Park community to develop programs for Spanish-speaking parents and their students.
She earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Wallace lives in Skokie with her husband, André, and her children: André, 16; Jordan, 14; and Liana, 12.