Tressie McDonough has served Chicago schools and families since 2003 in a variety of roles, including coach, teacher, assistant principal, principal, and Chief Schools Officer. Tressie started her career in education as a Teach For America 2003 corps member in Chicago, after graduating from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. As a TFA corps member, she taught for three years at Benito Juarez Community Academy. Inspired by the commitment to outcomes at the Noble Network of Charter Schools, she joined Noble as a founding math teacher at Pritzker College Prep. Motivated to have a larger impact on the Noble mission, she earned a master’s degree in organization & leadership from Columbia University and helped open UIC College Prep as an assistant principal. Later, she served UIC College Prep students and families as the principal for 7 years. During that time, students reached exceptional levels of achievement and continue to persist in college at unprecedented rates. Now, as Chief Schools Officer, Tressie is charged with ensuring a portfolio of six Noble campuses is operating in service to Noble’s vision: Noble will ensure that all students have equitable and positive school experiences that equip them to succeed on the path of their choice, leading to 75% of alumni completing college. Tressie finds great fulfillment in working with such amazing students, families and colleagues. Her joy also comes from spending time with her husband, Matt, and four children, Colin, Sophie, Charlotte, and James.
Why do you work at Noble?
Noble’s vision and values. I love working toward such a beautiful vision rooted in equity and justice. I am grateful for the chance to become a better version of myself every day because of students and families who inspire me and colleagues who live and breathe our Noble core values: results, respect, follow-through, diversity, equity & inclusion, and humility & self-awareness.
Who was your favorite teacher while growing up?
Ms. Jones, my high school math teacher, instilled in me a passion and love for mathematics. Though this wasn’t explicitly clear to me at the time, through her actions and words she taught me that with access to support and with deep practice, all people (including me) are capable of excelling in mathematics, despite gender disparities in the field. This mindset of growth fueled my love for teaching and learning this beautiful content.
Favorite thing about Noble or favorite Noble moment?
Too many of these to count my 15 years at Noble! I always felt a deep sense of gratitude during the car ride home every year after parent orientation at UIC College Prep. Those evenings were filled with such optimism and joy, and the brightness in the eyes of our students was contagious. I felt honored and grateful to parents for entrusting our team with their most precious treasures.
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 a team that is committed to bolstering principal/campus experience and performance, thereby helping the students Noble serves to complete college and lead lives of choice. I also manage our Director of Principal Supports, who is charged with ensuring our campuses operate with fiscal responsibility. The campuses I support are:
- Baker College Prep
- Hansberry College Prep
- Mansueto College Prep
- Muchin College Prep
- Rauner College Prep
- UIC College Prep
Start at Noble?
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.A. in Mathematics)
Columbia University in the City of New York (M.A. in Organization and Leadership)