Meet The New Principals and Chiefs at Noble Schools

Image shows headshots of the 7 new leaders at Noble Schools underneath a blue transparent layer. On top, there is blue text on a yellow background that reads "New Principals and Chiefs at Noble Schools". The Noble Schools logo is in the bottom right corner.
Published On: September 9th, 2022Categories: 2022, Noble Updates, Staff

This school year, we have seven new leaders stepping up to guide our campuses and teams at Noble Schools. Take a minute to read more about them and their experience in education below:


Tina Ellis, DRW College Prep

Image shows a headshot of Tina Ellis, new principal at DRW College Prep

Tina Ellis is proud to be the new principal at DRW College Prep. Born and raised on the East Coast, Ellis considers herself a woman of faith and family. As the daughter of immigrants, she is passionate about immigration reform and equipping students with the skills they need to complete college.

Ellis has worked in education for over two decades in various capacities. Before coming to Noble in 2019, she taught in Boston, Gary, Hammond, and Chicago. During this time, Ellis received recognition for the Core Value Award from Noble Schools in 2020. She also received the Outstanding Educator Award in 2019 and A Disciplined Life Award in 2015. 

Ellis attended Boston College and Cambridge College and received her B.A. in Communications and her Master of Education degree, respectively. She has also received an additional master’s degree in secondary education from Indiana University.

Ellis believes her success in education is because of the solid relationships she builds with students and families. She looks forward to pursuing excellence for DRW students and their families!

Darryl Patteson, Gary Comer College Prep

Image shows a headshot of Darryl Patteson, the new principal at Gary Comer College Prep

Darryl Patteson is now moving into the role of Principal at Gary Comer College Prep after 10 years of teaching math, running clubs, developing teachers, and serving as Assistant Principal at the school.

He has a B.A. in Mathematics from Syracuse University and a Masters in Teaching from National Louis University.

Patteson is beyond thrilled to continue his time at GCCP as the Principal and hopes to bring in the voices of scholars, staff, and families to make the best possible school experience on the way to and through college.

Nora Lawrence, Mansueto High School

Image shows a headshot of Nora Lawrence, the new principal at Mansueto High School

Nora Lawrence is heading into her 11th year at Noble and 13th year in education this year. She began her teaching career in Kansas City, MO through Teach for America, teaching Spanish, and then moved back home to Chicago to join Noble. After serving for nine years at Gary Comer College Prep as a teacher, college counselor and eventual Assistant Principal, she moved to Mansueto High School.

Lawrence is an Illinois native, a wife, a mom of two girls and a dog, and a passionate educator who believes that an exceptional education is a human right.

Chase Johnson, Interim Principal, Muchin College Prep

Image shows a headshot of Chase Johnson, new principal at Muchin College Prep. He is a young man with short brown hair and a short beard. He is wearing a long sleeved black button up. The background is a solid gray color.

Chase Johnson grew up in Riverside, California, has always loved school, and was inspired by his passionate teachers to become a teacher himself. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Legal Studies. Johnson went on to join the Teach for America corps in Chicago, where he was a learning specialist in the math setting.

Johnson joined the Muchin team in July of 2011. During his tenure at Muchin, Johnson has been a Learning Specialist, Math Teacher (subjects: Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and Pre-Calculus), Dean of Students, and Assistant Principal. While at Muchin, Johnson earned his Master’s in the Art of Teaching and a Master’s in Educational Leadership. As Principal, he is grateful to work with our Muchin community to provide a life-altering education that honors our scholars’ brilliance, affirms their unique identities, and cultivates their potential to challenge systems of inequity. Go Mountain Lions!


Tanya Klinkhachorn, Chief People Officer

Tanya Klinkhachorn is the youngest daughter of Thai immigrants. She grew up in a small college town in West Virginia, and though she misses the mountains, Chicago has been home since 2009 when she moved to teach in the Chicago Public Schools through Teach For America.

Klinkhachorn currently serves as the Chief People Officer at Noble. Since joining Noble in 2017, she has held various roles within the People Team. In her tenure at Noble, she has implemented Noble’s salary schedule, created the Distinguished Teacher program, co-launched the Diverse Leaders Fellowship, and led the recruitment and hiring of teachers and leaders.

Previously, Klinkhachorn served as a biology teacher and science department chair at Uplift Community High School in the Chicago Public Schools and was a management consultant for Bain & Company. She has a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Yale University, a M.A.T. in secondary education from National Louis University, an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters in Educational Leadership from her participation in the Broad Residency in Urban Education. Klinkhachorn loves all things outdoors but is also known for binge-watching reality tv like a pro.

Claudia Rodriguez, Chief of Public Affairs

Image shows headshot of Claudia Rodriguez, the new Chief of Public Affairs at Noble Schools

Claudia Rodriguez serves as Chief of Public Affairs for the Noble Network of Charter Schools where she oversees the communications and government and community affairs strategy for the network. She previously served as Executive Director of the Illinois Beverage Association. Prior to that she worked as a legislative aide to the chairman of the Committee on Health and Environmental Protection for the City of Chicago where she conducted research and assisted committee members, and the Office of the Mayor with policy introduction.

Rodriguez is a lifelong Chicagoan from Little Village. She serves as Commissioner to the City’s Special Service Area #25, is a current board member of the Mexican Civic Society of Illinois and in 2016 was named one of Negocios Now Latinos 40 under 40. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Journalism from DePaul University and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University.

Darko Simunovic, Chief Operating Officer

Image shows a headshot of Darko Simunovic, the new Chief Operating Officer at Noble Schools

Darko Simunovic is originally from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He came to the United States when he was in 4th grade and was lucky to attend some of the best Chicago Public Schools, eventually graduating from Lincoln Park High School with an International Baccalaureate degree. He then attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois where he received a Bachelors in Political Science.

Once he graduated from Knox, Simunovic joined Teach For America and taught middle school students in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At this time, he also received a Masters of Urban Special Education from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee.

Simunovic came back to Chicago in 2012 when he returned to be the founding Assistant Principal for Hansberry College Prep. After 4 years, Simunovic moved on from Hansberry to be the founding principal for Mansueto High School, where he guided the construction of the new school and then built the campus into one of the largest and most successful schools in Chicago.

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