On October 23, three College of Education alumni were recognized by the Illinois Principals Association (IPA) for their excellence in educational leadership during the association’s Education Leaders Fall Conference 2018.
Amy Quattrone ’97, assistant principal of Westmont Junior High School, earned the IPA’s Assistant Principal of the Year award. She credits her college experience at Illinois State for playing a huge role in her success in education. For Quattrone, it all started with a love for teaching, and she was inspired by her professors at Illinois State to be an educational leader inside and outside of the classroom.
“The caliber of professors at Illinois State University is top-notch. Their progressive approach to education gave me a step above others in my field,” she said.
Quattrone served as a teacher and literacy coach for nine years before pursuing new opportunities and challenges as an administrator.
She is focused on establishing relationships with faculty and staff to build trust. This approach to leadership has facilitated professional growth and school improvement. The benefits are mutual, and she says she learns something new from her colleagues and students every day. Quattrone also has maintained a presence in the classroom by co-teaching a seventh-grade literacy class and says she loves to learn and grow from her teachers.
One piece of advice she would give to aspiring Redbird administrators is to “find a few administrative mentors whom you highly respect and learn as much as you can from them before taking the leap.”
Gloria Trejo ’96, M.S.E. ’00, principal of Pioneer Elementary School in West Chicago, has received the IPA’s Elementary Principal of the Year honor. However, it was her critics, not her supporters, who she says are most responsible for her successful career in education. As a high school student, Trejo was told by her counselor that “college was not for people like her.” She used that remark as fuel to become an educator who encourages and motivates all students, especially those who are underachieving or are at the most risk of being marginalized.
She also thanks Illinois State University for providing her with meaningful academic experiences that have helped prepare her to best serve her students. Trejo has been relishing the opportunity to connect with administrators across the state.
In her opinion, effective principals understand that a school’s successes reflect the service and dedication of all faculty and staff. She said that though the IPA award has her name on it, she views it as a team award.
Brandi Bruley ’96, who now serves as the curriculum director for the Taylorville Community Unit School District, was the recipient of the John Ourth & Fred Singleton Professional Development Scholarship. The funds from the scholarship have allowed her to pursue certification in school finance.
For her, Illinois State, especially during her senior year, set her on a path to becoming an administrator.
“During student teaching, my cooperating teacher became an administrator and it ignited a passion in me,” she said.
Bruley also says that she still utilizes many of the resources the University offers to alumni and all practicing educators, including the National Board Resource Center.
She also was recognized in 2014 by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and was the IPA’s Elementary Principal of the Year.
“Awards like these humbled me, but also inspire me to continue to work to reach all students, parents, and colleagues,” she said.
Congratulations to our #EdBirds on their achievements!