On June 3, 2021, we held our last quarterly board meeting of the school year in which members heard about the incredible work happening at our campuses. Over the past few years, Noble Schools has focused on ensuring our board matches the incredible diversity of our broader Noble Schools community. Our governing body now consists of four parents of Noble students or alumni, 9 of 20 members identify as female, 10 of 20 members identify as people of color, and two members are alumni.
Our board continues to evolve and we are excited to announce the addition of three more members today:
Darius Newsome grew up in the Austin community on Chicago’s West Side. Newsome graduated from Noble’s UIC College Prep campus and went on to graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminology. Newsome decided to continue his educational journey and earned a Master’s of Public Administration with a concentration in Urban Governance from UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs. During graduate school, Newsome was elected to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees by his peers. Newsome had a strong desire to be involved on campus and felt the position would give him a unique opportunity to stand up for issues that he cared about. He advocated for efforts to maintain a diverse student body and provide easily accessible higher education to traditionally marginalized groups among many other issues related to the 86,000 students that make up the University of Illinois system. Newsome currently serves as the Director for Educational Partnerships at UIC where he directs the design and implementation of the interface with community-based organizations and other external partners. In addition, Newsome is responsible for identifying internal and external partnerships and opportunities to recruit and retain underrepresented students. Growing up on Chicago’s West Side, Newsome shares strong personal and professional connections to the community in which he is truly dedicated to making a change. He maintains his passion and dedication to improving his community and elevating the voices of people who have been traditionally marginalized.
Dr. Nikos Varelas is Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs and Academic Programs, and Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has previously served as Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs in UIC’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In his 24 years as a faculty member and administrator at UIC, Dr. Varelas has worked with faculty, staff, and students to introduce reforms and programs that have enhanced the academic experience of students. In his current role, Dr. Varelas is directing the student success efforts of the university and has launched a variety of innovative initiatives that have led to significant improvements in student achievement and success. Dr. Varelas’ research is in the field of high-energy particle physics, and he was a member of the team of scientists who discovered the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. Dr. Varelas has served as a co-spokesperson for the CTEQ Collaboration, a member of the Executive Committee of the American Physical Society’s Division of Particles and Fields, Chair of the Fermilab Users Executive Committee and Senior Fellow of the LHC Physics Center at Fermilab. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a University of Illinois Scholar. His publication record exceeds 1,500 peer-reviewed journal articles. Dr. Varelas earned his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Rochester and his B.Sc. in Physics from the
University of Athens, Greece.
Esmeralda Mora is a premier writer for Wayside Publishing and has currently authored two novels for language learner literature in Spanish to be published in the Fall of 2021. She is also the founding director of the Language Learner Literature Advisory Board (LLLAB) that reads and reviews books in Spanish, French, and German. The mission of the Language Learner Literature Advisory Board is to provide well-rounded feedback about classroom library material as it pertains to race, ethnicity, cultures, social class, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, religion, family structure, neurodiversity, abilities, and experiences. The board is composed of a group of diverse members that are well advanced in their field and can provide trustworthy information to help dismantle social inequalities and support teachers and authors in developing and curating culturally sustaining reading material. Mora is an alumna of Noble Street College Prep and holds a bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College, a master’s degree in Latin American Literatures and Cultures from Northeastern Illinois University, and is completing a doctoral degree in Curriculum, Advocacy, and Policy at National Louis University.
As a nonprofit, our board plays a vital role in helping to support our organization. Our board members are volunteers, sharing their time, talents, resources, advice, and feedback on Noble’s high-level direction and strategy. We are proud to incorporate Darius Newsome, Dr. Nikos Varelas, and Esmeralda Mora in the conversation in this new way.
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