The game of life
Winning strategies from our alumni expert
Robert Croston EOP, McNair Scholar, Arts ’05
Principal at Jenner Academy of the Arts
Chicago Public Schools
He’s driven by a commitment the children in his predominantly black, low-income school express as “Be the NEST.” Be neighborly. Stay engaged. Be scholarly. Use teamwork. It guides his leadership when greeting children or seeking resources to restart science classes — his first win — and fulfill the plural noun “arts” pledged in the school’s title with the addition of dance and music to the existing classes in visual arts.
Graduates make plans but then things happen. You torqued your path, why?
All along I thought I wanted to be a political science professor. But then I realized I didn’t want to make sense of public life; I wanted to be active in public life, which led me to Teach For America and then Harvard.
Where do you find tools to help you work for the children at Jenner Academy?
I was knocked off my feet by my Jesuit education, particularly the ideals of cura personalis, which I connect with our holistic approach to teaching children and not treating them like test-takers, and men and women for others, which is about serving and supporting others in the community.
If you could wave a magic principal’s wand, what would be your first wish?
I would change the political will to finance the education of poor children of color. This conversation began 60 years ago and the political will, in my humble opinion, is just not there. Marquette responded to the civil rights call to educate children of color with EOP and the McNair programs, and I’m the fruit of that. What if Marquette never got involved?
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