Estée Kelly entered the field of education as a 2003 Teach For America corps member in St. Louis, MO, where she taught a kindergarten-through-second-grade cross-categorical special education classroom. Following her two-year commitment, she joined Galapagos Charter School, located on the West Side of Chicago, in its founding year. There she taught third and fifth grade. After dedicating three years to the students of Galapagos Charter School, she applied to and was accepted into New Leaders for New Schools—Chicago, Cohort 8. New Leaders for New Schools partners with Chicago Public Schools to prepare exceptional leaders for the district. After serving as a Resident Principal at Legacy Charter School, Estée was selected as the principal of KIPP Indianapolis College Prep. In 2011, she joined the Noble Network of Charter Schools as the founding principal of Gary Comer College Prep Middle School, and in 2015, she became the principal of Gary Comer College Prep. Most recently, before her current role as Chief Schools Officer, Estée served as the Principal of KIPP Vision Academy, a 5-8 middle school located in Atlanta, Georgia. Estée earned her M.A. in educational leadership through National Louis University and is an alumnus of DePaul University, where she received her B.A. in political science. She spends most of her free time cheering on her son Jeremiah at basketball games. He is currently a student-athlete at the University of Wyoming in his freshman year.
Why do you work at Noble?
Core is Latin for heart. I work at Noble because the core of Noble is perfectly aligned to my core. Over my 17 years in education, I have been committed to achieving educational equity and excellent outcomes for the scholars I am fortunate to serve. My work at Noble has allowed me to do this each and every day.
Who was your favorite teacher while growing up?
Growing up my favorite teacher was Ms. Isabella Skinner. Ms. Skinner was my 3rd- and 4th-grade teacher. She was the embodiment of love and high expectations. She saw the potential of every student she taught and held us to a high standard of excellence while supporting and loving us every step of the way. She played a huge role in the educator I became and the person I am today.
Favorite thing about Noble or favorite Noble moment?
There are a great deal of things I love about Noble. My absolute favorite is advisory. Nothing beats being an advisor!
What do you/your department do at Noble?
As a Chief Schools Officer (CSO), I am tasked with ensuring six Noble campuses are operating in service to Noble's vision. In addition to directly managing six principals, I am a part of the Education Team, which is committed to bolstering principal/campus experience and performance, thereby helping the students Noble serves to complete college and lead lives of choice. The campuses I support are:
DRW College Prep
Gary Comer College Prep Middle School
Golder College Prep
ITW David Speer Academy
Noble Street College Prep
Rowe Clark Math & Science Academy
Start at Noble?
I began working at Noble in June 2010. Last year I moved out of state, but I greatly missed our organization and the city of Chicago and I am happy to be back.
DePaul University (B.A. in Political Science)
National Louis University (M.A. in Educational Leadership)
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