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Chad Adams

Principal, Sullivan High School

Headshot for Chad Adams

Chad Adams, principal of Sullivan High School in Rogers Park, has dramatically transformed the lowest-performing high school on the north side of Chicago into a flourishing neighborhood high school in his first three years. Sullivan had been on academic probation for 13 years when Adams took over in July of 2013. The school is now a level 2+ school on the verge of level 1, the highest level in Chicago. Through Adams’ leadership, the school has seen its graduation rate rise from 47 percent to nearly 80 percent, and its freshmen on track to graduate increase from 65 percent to 90 percent. The drastic improvements have also brought community students and families back to Sullivan, with over 225 freshmen enrolled this year (the highest mark in over 15 years), and almost 100 refugee students enrolled since September. Adams began his teaching career at an alternative school in Indiana where he was awarded the southern Indiana Walmart teacher of the year in 2001. Shortly after moving to Chicago, he became a nationally board-certified English and reading teacher at Farragut High School. Later he served as an instructional coach at Fenger and Dyett for the high school transformation project. Three years later he became one of the founding teachers at Talent Development Charter High school in the West Garfield neighborhood. In 2011, he made his transition to leadership serving as assistant principal of Harper High School where he became a nationally certified "New Leader,” a national leadership training program for principals.