Welcome Lab's Permanent Early Childhood Division Principal

Welcome Lab's Permanent Early Childhood Division Principal

Heather Duncan

Early Childhood Principal Heather Duncan

Lab is delighted to announce that, following a robust and extensive search, Interim Early Childhood Principal Heather Duncan will remain in her role on a permanent basis. From a pool of diverse and talented candidates, Heather drew resounding support from the community. Her deep experience, authentic leadership style, and commitment to Lab’s mission priorities will define the next great chapter of Early Childhood learning and development at Earl Shapiro Hall.
 
Heather brings over 20 years' experience in education to this role, starting with her first classroom position in Posen-Robbins School District 143 ½. She then founded and directed Ahadi Early Learning Center for five years before joining Chicago Public Schools as a preschool teacher. She is a 2015–2017 America Achieves National Fellow, a 2016 Chicago Foundation for Education ARLI Research Fellow, a 2018–2019 Teach Plus Early Childhood Fellow, and a 2018 winner of the Golden Apple for Excellence In Teaching Award. She holds a BA in English and an MEd in Early Childhood Education from the University of Illinois as well as a certificate in Early Childhood Leadership from the Erikson Institute, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in Organizational Leadership at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. As Dean of Teaching and Learning at Lab, Heather designed impactful professional development materials and resources to support our faculty and serve our students with regard to teaching and learning, social-emotional growth, and equity and inclusion. 
 
During the search process, Heather won accolades for her vision, positivity, self-awareness, and commitment to lifelong learning. A teacher shared that Heather “embodies what we need as a leader in ESH… She loves the children and finds joy in the faculty.” Another teacher called Heather a “fantastic listener” with “great institutional knowledge” who “trusts kids.” Still, another described Heather’s partnership with her colleagues Sarah Abella, Arlene Lewis, and Eli Johnson as “a wonderful, constructive team.” A Lab parent felt that “Heather’s profound knowledge and extensive experience in the Early Childhood Education field are invaluable assets” and praised her “authenticity and personable nature." In turn, Heather is thrilled to take on the Principal role on a permanent basis. Expressing love for the community, she shared that she looks forward to “start building with permanence in mind.” She is particularly excited to prioritize the Early Childhood Program of Studies and further develop the Leadership Lab, “the incubator at Early Childhood that helps faculty build skills beyond their teaching practice.”
 

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