Mary E. McDowell CPS
Dr. Jodi Easterling-Hood
I am the proud principal of the McDowell Elementary School. I have been a teacher, special education teacher, counselor, and assistant principal. During my tenure as principal of McDowell Elementary School, McDowell has been recognized as one of the 39 most improved schools in 1999, a school of distinction in 2004, and as one of the 85 best-run schools in Chicago. Presently McDowell is recognized as a Level 1 school. In 2002 I was the recipient of the Chicago Public School Administrators Outstanding Leadership Award. In 2007 I received the Phi Delta Kappa Educator of the Year Award and the CAPA Outstanding Principal Award. In 2012 I was among the first CPS administrators to receive recognition from Mayor Emanuel’s inaugural program to award outstanding principals. Just last year, October 2019, I was selected by the Chicago Education Fund to be the face of Chicago Principals for Principal Appreciation Month and my image was posted on city buses and elevated trains. Through my transformative and dynamic leadership, McDowell is a testament to the fact that an inner-city, neighborhood school can beat the odds and achieve high academic performance.
In addition to being the principal of McDowell School where “Excellence is Expected,” I have worked with the Office of Principal Preparation and Development as a member of the Principal Review Board as well as a LIFT/Induction Mentor for first year principals. In 2004 during the mentor institute held at the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University, I helped to develop the CPS Principal Competencies. I also participated in a pilot cohort to develop criteria for National Board Principal Certification. My commitment to mentoring new administrators has led to work with New Leaders for New Schools as a mentor principal as well as cooperating principal with the NLNS teacher leader program. In 2016 I was selected to be a Principal Fellow and completed a year long study at Northwestern University. It is there where my cohort revamped the Chicago Principal Mentoring Program. Currently, as part of that new model, I am a Lead Mentor with the CPS Department of Principal Quality.
One thing I would like everyone to know is I have a passion for educating children and cultivating leadership of aspiring principals. My philosophy is basic: True learning comes by experience. To that end I am pleased to share that the extraordinary staff that I have assembled over the years have taken children to places that include Canada; the Underground Railroad; the MLK Tour; the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, IL; Dinosaur Digging in Colorado and Utah; bike riding along Chicago’s cityscape; and a field trip to New York City.
I enjoy spending time with my husband of 35 years, Rory Hood, my children Matthew, Mark, and Jasmine and my only grandson, Joshua. I love reading non-fiction and I also write and publish educational books. I live by our school motto and remind myself each day: “Excellence is Expected”.