Educator Spotlight: Eric Austin

Written by Chicago International Charter School
04 November 2019
Posted in Educator Spotlight

I am the principal for Avalon middle school. 

What attracted you to CICS Avalon?

My first teaching job right out of college was to teach middle grade students. But over the last two years, I taught history to 12th graders. I love every one of my teaching moments, but I knew I wanted to get back to my teaching roots. Avalon was just that opportunity.  The moment I walked into the building, I felt the energy and passion of every teacher and staff member. The people in our building love our students and they are willing to go the extra mile for them every day. 

After graduating from college, I chose to teach in Nashville, Tennessee and to give back to my community.  I thought I would only teach for a couple of years, and then move on to something else. However, after my first month of working with kids, it was clear to me that I’d found my careerpath.

I love watching my students academically grow throughout the course of the school year. I look over their portfolios at the end of the school year and see that many reach their academic goals.  The realization that they have the ability to “make their brains grow” is the fuel we use to get through the challenges together.

As educators, we are just one piece of every student’s unique success puzzle. Many of our students come to school while facing obstacles at home and in their neighborhoods. As educators who love our students deeply, it can be difficult to grapple with their challenges. However, by doing everything we can for our students while they’re at school, and working hard to build great relationships with their parents, we can help our students to overcome these challenges.

As this is my first year at Avalon, my focus is on ensuring that the outstanding foundation, built before I arrived, is strong and stable. Once I get my sea legs, I’ll have a better idea of how I want to bring Avalon up to the next level in the years to come. My focus from day one has been to assure that our staff functions as an air-tight team. This is very important to me and I want to ensure that every adult knows that they are deeply valued and appreciated for the work they do every day.

I’ve taught several subjects to multiple age groups over the years. My superpower is the ability to make any topic engaging and relevant for my students. I pride myself on having the students that I’ve taught to be deeply invested in the learning.

Focus on the positives. Since we’re so invested in this work, we take it personally when we or our students fall short. By intentionally training your mind to identify and focus on the positives, you can ensure your own longevity in the education field. There’re so many good things happening all the time. You just have to look for them!

School attendance is the first and most critical component to student success. If I could wave a magic wand, 100% of my students would be in the building, on time, every single day!  I’m going to work tirelessly to make this a reality at Avalon.



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