the Madeleine Maraldi Awards

for Teaching Excellence

Carter School of Excellence Nominees & Administration

Staff Bios (click to open)

  • Kevin Graham

    Kevin Graham is the rock of the middle school team. He is devoted to getting his middle school students ready for high school through rigorous lessons and earned autonomy. His vision and leadership in middle school foster a community of learners for both the students and the teachers. Mr. Graham is extremely intentional in planning and supporting his students to do their very best. He works endlessly to ensure that his students are inspired and are supported in every way so that they are successful.

    Mr. Graham has a love for English Language Arts. He understands deeply exactly which texts best support the understanding of which standards. Mr. Graham has won many grants to support his students love of literature, whether he is winning a CFE grant or Donor’s Choose, his students are at the core of what he works so hard for.  He also has a knack for designing questions that support student comprehension. Mr. Graham is either shifting the learning in the classroom to support a Socratic Seminar or he is moving his students into small groups so that they are focused on learning in literature circles.

    These examples are just a few of the many ways that learning happens in the classroom that makes students excited about literature on a daily basis. Finally, Mr. Graham knows just how to weave the Engage curriculum and other resources together to inspire and push his students excel at the highest levels possible. Mr. Graham began his teaching career as an AUSL resident and is a founding member of the turnaround team that opened Carter four years ago.

    You can see Kevin in action at TchAUSL.

  • Sarah Prentice

    When you walk into Sarah Prentice's classroom, you would be surprised to learn it was a diverse learner's class. Her students hold discussions about the intention of Shakespeare and push each other to find reflections of triangles on coordinate grids.

    Ms. Prentice is an expert lesson planner who pours over the Expeditionary Learning and Eureka Math lessons to find modifications and accommodations that will both support and challenge her students. Ms. Prentice strives to provide students, fellow teachers, and administrators with tangible resources that spark meaningful connections across content areas, utilizing diverse learning styles, as well as allowing students to access material at varying levels of proficiency. She has mastered intervention-based assessment and is able to implement Response to Intervention strategies to propel students towards reaching their individual academic goals.

    Ms. Prentice’s quiet, assertive approach makes her a strong leader in the field of education. She has a love for learning and students that makes her a frequent collaborator with many teachers at Carter, and students and staff look forward to working with her. She is adept at curriculum-based assessment and progress monitoring. By effectively utilizing data-based decision-making, she excels at identifying and developing interventions for areas needing improvement. Ms. Prentice’s positivity is contagious and inspires students to reach for excellence immediately upon entering middle school. She works well with individual students who have emotional and behavioral disabilities and effectively applies her knowledge in the development of interventions for these students.

    Ms. Prentice possesses an unwavering passion for student success and a penchant for leading change in the Chicago educational landscape. Ms. Prentice has supported the great work at Carter for 3 years

  • Megan McWeeney

    Megan McWeeney bleeds for Carter School of Excellence. She is always asking herself and her peers what more can we do for her students and the community. As the lead in primary, she is the "go to" person to ask about curriculum, standards, strategies, and communicating with parents.  Her infectious energy and positivity is evident in her teaching and in students. She works tirelessly to ensure that lessons are differentiated to meet what each student needs at that time. She uses all data available to her to shift her lessons so that she is truly meeting the needs of all of the students in the room.

    Ms. Mac, as she is affectionately called, creates the classroom environment that truly allows for student ownership.  Ms. Mac’s students have learned in the deepest sense, what it means to be a learner, which allows for the classroom virtually run itself.  Students know why they must work hard each day and students have a clear understanding of what that looks like and sounds like.  She works collaboratively to daily support and advocate for the engageAUSL curriculum.  She can be seen asking teachers in the hall how their lesson went that day, or even after-school where she plans with her colleagues around CKLA  ensuring that not only  her students get the best experience and education, but that the other classrooms receive that same level of support.

    Ms. Mac’s passion for Carter students goes beyond just the primary students she teaches.  She most recently organized and worked tirelessly to ensure funding for the 8th grade trip to Washington D.C.  Ms. Mac’s dedication and energy is a remarkable piece of her teacher leadership that is exhibited daily. Ms. McWeeney began her teaching career in AUSL and is a founding member of the Carter turnaround team.

  • Mary Icho

    Mary Icho is an extremely dynamic kindergarten teacher who works tirelessly to make sure she is reaching each of her students in math and literacy. Driven by daily ancedotals and student work, Mrs. Icho’s passion for her students' learning and growth is evident from being in her room even for a few moments. Mrs. Icho is very focused on knowing her students and the families of her students well.

    She has a strong belief that the family, school connection has a direct impact on how well her students grow. Her constant contact with her families supports the kindergartners in the classroom to learn at the highest levels. Mrs. Icho has a soft but determined spirit which all of her students respond to. They are so excited to see her, and most importantly, they understand the expectations and work hard to meet them each day.

    Mrs. Icho exudes her belief that all students are capable of achieving at high levels in every lesson through the details that she puts into the learning that they will do that day.

  • Carmel Perkins, Principal

    Principal Perkins is referred to by her staff as an exemplary instructional leader.  She is commended for empowering her teachers to be learners and leaders.

    Amid the challenges of having nine new teachers (half of her staff) and implementing a new core curriculum this year, Ms. Perkins balanced her efforts to support adult learning while supporting and nurturing the academic development of her students.  She encouraged her teachers to take on more authority and responsibility as they developed capacities to manage the complexities of deepening their understanding of the Standards, implementing engageAUSL and making meaningful instructional shifts.  Under her leadership, Carter has become a community of learners who feel obligated to share and push each other's practice in a joint effort to improve student achievement.

    In sharing her leadership, Perkins holds high performance and growth expectations for herself, her teachers and her students.