The Evanston School District 65 School Board approved Marlene Aponte-Mathews as the next principal of Dawes Elementary School Monday night.

“I am pleased to welcome Mrs. Aponte-Mathews to Dawes Elementary and the District 65 team,” said Superintendent Paul Goren, announcing her appointment. “She is a veteran educator and a tremendous leader.”

“I am confident in her ability to connect with and engage the community in the important work that lies ahead in both the short- and long-term” he said. “She has shared her excitement to hit the ground running, taking an active part in transition planning and immediately getting to know Dawes staff, students, and families.”

“In District 65 we take extra steps, outside of the normal hiring process for most districts, to ensure school leadership searches are thoughtful, thorough, and provide opportunities for community involvement,” said Goren. “As we reviewed the final candidates, Mrs. Aponte-Mathews’ qualifications stood out as a great match for Dawes and District 65.”

Aponte-Mathews has 17 years of educational experience ranging from a bilingual (Spanish and English) classroom teacher, reading and math interventionist, instructional specialist, resident principal, and, most recently, as the director of instructional coaching for the Academy for Urban School Leadership.

Aponte-Mathews has a bachelor’s degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a masters degree in elementary education from the College of Staten Island, and is pursuing her doctorate in urban educational leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Aponte-Mathews will officially begin in her new role on July 1, while Juliana Perisin will continue to serve as interim principal for the remainder of the 2018-2019 school year.

During public comment before the appointment was announced, several parents of Dawes students complained that the principal selection process was too secretive and disregarded the wishes of teachers and parents.

Related story
Dawes parents demand stronger leadership, more support (3/19/2019)

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