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Educator Portrait, Perspectives Program Managers

By Antoinette Self, Caressa Whitten, Kira Chevalier-Devine, Martel Craig, and Maribel Moreno



March 26, 2015 CHICAGO—Program Managers play a critical role in carrying out the mission of Perspectives Charter Schools to educate students for college and prepare them for life through the A Disciplined Life education model. They are uniquely positioned to affect the lives of thousands of students and their families through their work.

The program managers use the A Disciplined Life education model—which combines rigorous academic classes and strong character education—to achieve the academic and character education goals for all students across the Perspectives network. Students and staff alike study the 26 principles of A Disciplined Life, which help us develop positive self-perception, healthy relationships and tools for productivity.

Program managers are adept at finding quality afterschool programs and other non-academic events that expose students to art, dance, music, entrepreneurship, and additional science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The program managers are:

Their work is integral to our success at Perspectives. Read their own words in describing how they live A Disciplined Life:

Antoinette is studying the A Disciplined Life principle “be a life-long learner,” at PLA.

How does teaching/role-modeling A Disciplined Life to our students affect you as an educator?

“Role modeling A Disciplined Life to our students affects me because I know that what I do and say really matters. Students will call you out for doing certain things and I appreciate their honesty. It gives me an opportunity to reflect on what I've done.”

Why are afterschool programs important for our students?

“After school programs are important because they extend the learning experience beyond the classroom. It provides a safe place for students after the school day and allows them to find areas of interest in a less formal environment and they get to meet new people.”

Antoinette graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Chicago State University. She is currently enrolled in a Masters in Education Leadership program at Concordia University. Antoinette is living A Disciplined Life 26 principles at a time.

Caressa is studying the A Disciplined Life principle “show compassion,” at TECH.


Describe a teaching moment that made a lasting impression on you as an educator?

"I recall a time when we received a transfer student who refused to attend class. After countless days of this behavior I asked this young man to join me in our conference room to inquire personally about his goals in life and to learn what inspired him. Together we brainstormed some ideas about what he liked and what he wanted to do in life. We wrote a plan and decided on the ways that we could implement and accomplish his goals. I talked with him about several things I needed assistance with and together we promised that we would hold each other accountable to our goals. I’m happy to report that since that day and meeting he has not missed a day of class. Like many students, he needed someone to listen to him and believe in him. This is one reason that gives me great pride in the work I do at Perspectives.”

I work at Perspectives because…

“Not only am I a staff member, I am a proud parent of two Perspectives students; one is a graduate and the other is a senior and about to graduate. I love the school culture and the sense of community built around A Disciplined Life.”

Caressa completed a bachelor's degree in Business with an emphasis in Accounting and a Masters in Business Administration from Robert Morris University. Caressa is living A Disciplined Life 26 principles at a time.

Kira is studying the A Disciplined Life principle “live a healthy lifestyle,” at PMA.

I work at Perspectives because…

“I love what I do! I love creating magic and making learning fun and exciting. Changing lives and being able to impact one student at a time while chasing away negative behaviors through the A Disciplined Life principles, makes my work at Perspectives all worthwhile.”

Why are afterschool programs important for our students?

“Afterschool programming further develops our students. It gives staff and students additional opportunities to develop strong and healthy relationships. It also allows our students to build on their social skills through informal learning interactions. I see our students becoming better academics through their afterschool investments.”

Kira studied Aerospace Engineering at Dominican University. Kira is living A Disciplined Life 26 principles at a time.

Martell is studying the A Disciplined Life principle “be open-minded,” at MSA.

Briefly explain why you are studying the above A Disciplined Life principle.

“I feel that it is important to be in sync with our staff and our students. To make this happen, I must be willing to accept others ideas and opinions. Our school community is made up of people of different ages, from different backgrounds, and with different beliefs. To truly be all in we need to be respectful and accepting of our differences and that starts with being open minded.”

Favorite quote.

“The reward is always greater than the sacrifice, whenever you have good intentions,” my Father.

I work at Perspectives because…

“I am passionate about educating for college and preparing for life. Perspectives and I share a lot of the values and expectations to help students develop positive self-perception, healthy relationships and the tools for productivity. And, I enjoy working with my colleagues at MSA and throughout Perspectives.”

Martell graduated with a bachelor’s degree in corporate communications from Northern Illinois University. He finished a Masters in Business Administration in Management from Roosevelt University. Martell is living A Disciplined Life 26 principles at a time.

Maribel is studying the A Disciplined Life principle “use your time wisely,” at Joslin.

Why are afterschool programs important for our students?

“Aside from providing a safe environment we also provide exposure to them through different programs. Students get a chance to learn about a variety of topics and develop different skills that they typically wouldn't undertake during the regular school day. And, I’ve read numerous reports about the positive affect on academic gains made by students that participate in afterschool programs.”

Briefly explain why you are studying the above principle.

“With so many responsibilities as a program manager, if I don't use my time wisely I wouldn't be able to process all of the demands on my time and still provide quality time to interact with our students. When I am efficient with my time I find that life is much smoother at work and at home. It makes me feel more confident with my responsibilities.”

Maribel graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work from Northeastern Illinois University. Maribel is living A Disciplined Life 26 principles at a time.

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Teach at Perspectives

***Educator Portrait is a monthly feature that highlights the commitment to quality teaching at Perspectives.