the Madeleine Maraldi Awards

for Teaching Excellence

About Madeleine Maraldi

Madeleine Maraldi dedicated her heart and spirit to the Chicago Public Schools from 1961 when she began her career as a teacher, until the time she lost her battle to cancer in 2010. Madeleine served in many roles – as teacher, assistant principal, and principal. Madeleine will most be remembered as a reformer and a champion of teachers through her work with the Academy for Urban School Leadership.


In her own CPS school where she served as principal for more than 11 years, Washington Irving, Madeleine championed a rigorous curriculum through the development of her teachers as leaders of instruction and the school community. She created a special place at Irving where readers and writers bloomed, and put the school on the map for its literacy reform. “You can't be a writer unless you write. So when I say, then, let them write. They have to write every day. Let them write for journals. Let them write about their reaction to a math lesson. Write all kinds of things. Do writing all the time,” Madeleine cheered in an NPR interview profiling Irving with Ira Glass.


Motivated by her belief that all students should have access to a neighborhood school like Irving, Madeleine worked tirelessly at each of the AUSL schools that opened with her support. The Madeleine Maraldi Award, generously endowed by Pat and Mike Koldyke, celebrates the innovation and inspiration we see everyday in our schools in the work of our dedicated teachers and in the faces of our students. We celebrate Madeleine’s legacy with this award and look forward to inducting this year’s winners as Maraldi Fellows and supporting their innovation in developing a teacher development project.