Jacob Goldstein is the Dean of Discipline for 9th and 10th grade at Chicago Bulls College Prep and a member of the inaugural cohort for the Diverse Leaders Fellowship. The Diverse Leaders Fellowship (DLF) is designed to identify our diverse talent and invest in their development, while also strengthening our leadership pipeline at Noble. DLF was started in 2018 and helps provide professional development, networking opportunities and one-on-one mentoring to the participants.
I started at Noble five years ago as a disciplinarian and 9th grade advisor. I came to Noble because I was looking for consistency and high expectations in education. After college, I had the opportunity to join Teach for America and was placed in Gary, Indiana. During my time in the classroom, I learned how inconsistency has a large impact in student achievement. I needed a place that followed through on what was said, that delivered on academic results for the students and families, and that removed obstacles for both students and teachers to perform at their best.
My first time walking in to Bulls Prep, I felt at home. There was a sense of calmness and clarity that I had not felt previously and I knew this was the place I needed to be. I was surrounded by leaders who set forth a clear vision and established strong expectations to make sure that we could be one of the highest performing high schools. As I developed and learned not just about the systems of Bulls, but Noble as a whole, I knew this was the place where I wanted to grow and expand my experience within education as this is where I could learn to do my best work. I just did not know how.
I remember sitting in Jennifer Reid’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (professional development) PD during one of the first Noble Leadership Retreats. In that session, she called on different leaders across the network to stand. Chiefs, principals, assistant principals, academic deans, one by one she asked that all the leaders stand in that group and one trait stood out to me – there were not very many leaders of color in some of these positions at the time. Jennifer then had the deans of discipline and culture stand. I remember looking around the room and noticing that out of all groups, this group was the most representative of the students we serve. Out of all groups in the room, the most black and brown people were apart of discipline and that hit me hard. In that moment, I knew that expanding my leadership experience within Noble and at Bulls was of vital importance.
The Diverse Leaders Fellowship is important because it focuses on giving a voice to potential leaders that might not feel as if they have a voice. It allowed me the opportunity to work with and meet a mentor who helped push me to figure out what my best self is and how to bring that to work each day to best serve students, families, and staff. This is what being a leader is, and in order for me to be in front of our students every day, and set a strong example, I need to show them and teach through example what ones best self looks like each day.