I am Mr. Armando Rodriguez. As the new Principal of Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, it has been a sincere pleasure and honor to become a member of this great school community. I have always been a teacher. As a child growing up in Mexico, I used the bulletin board in my home as a blackboard for instructing my friends. Even when I worked as an electrical engineer, I most enjoyed the part of my job that involved teaching my colleagues, so the eventual transition to the classroom came naturally for me. My greatest initiative is to provide the leadership that will facilitate a school environment to provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of each student to the best of our ability.
Before coming to Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, my entire career has been within CPS and the corporate sector. I’ve been working in CPS for the last 19 years, in the capacities of a bilingual teacher, technology coordinator, bilingual coordinator, bilingual instructional coach and principal. In my years working with CPS, I’ve always combined my electronics engineering background and my teaching career. I hold a Master’s degree in Urban Education from Columbia College, Master degree in Educational Leadership from Chicago State University, Bachelor’s of Science in Electronics Engineering from the National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico and several courses from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.
After working as a bilingual teacher and instructional coach, I took the reins at George Washington Elementary School, which under my leadership was designated three times as an Illinois Spotlight School and a two time winner of the National Excellence in Urban Education Award, in 2014 and 2015. My strategy included creating systems of support for teachers, integrating technology in the classroom, parent and community involvement, and taking immediate, intensive action on any issue that distracted from student learning.
When discipline issues arose some years ago, I implemented specialized training with my teachers to combat the problem. This training resulted in no students being suspended out of school from Washington during the 2013-2014 school year and only a few suspensions the following year. I believe strongly in collaboration, not just among teachers, but among our students. At Washington I implemented a seminar program that allowed students in sixth through eighth grades to come together during the school day for instruction in robotics, yoga, creative writing, and numerous other disciplines. In addition to reinforcing Common Core concepts, these seminars successfully broke down barriers between age groups and gave teachers the chance to display talents that might not have had a place in their daily classrooms.
I have also been an avid proponent in the use of technology in the classroom. Washington has some of the most up-to-date equipment available for the staff and students including interactive projectors in every classroom, a fully equipped computer lab, iPads, laptops, and Chromebooks available for classwork and testing school wide. The technology to pupil ratio when I left to come to Goode was 1:1.
In the last several years, my goal was for Washington to be a STEM school. With that in mind, I pushed technology, advanced our curriculum and teaching practices, bought Science equipment, entered Science and Math competitions, and dabbled in Robotics.
I have now accomplished my dream of overseeing a STEM school. It is both a privilege and a challenge to be able to do this at Sarah E. Goode Stem Academy, where our students, in this new, innovative, 6 year time frame will receive excellent education and career opportunities.
They will walk away with not only a high school diploma, but an Associate’s Degree in AAS with the help of our corporate sponsorship and Chicago City Colleges. The only way in which all of us are going to ensure successful college and career readiness for our students is working together. My doors will be always open to you.
Assistant School Clerk/ Athletic Director
Spanish Teacher, Department Chair