Adrian J. (AJ) DeLeon is a first-generation college graduate whose passion to achieve equity and excellence for students has guided his professional career. He began his career in education, while he was an engineering student at Michigan, by participating in a Microsoft-sponsored project that provided professional skills training to the Southwest Detroit community. After that, AJ spent time as an Americorps volunteer training low-income parents in South Suburban Chicago on how to provide home-based preschool education to their children. Later, while a student at DePaul, he worked for the College of Education as a student advocate, where he leveraged his youthful optimism, and his background in political science and education, to help secure a better future for all kids, especially those in marginalized communities in Chicago.
Ever since, AJ has continued to work to effect change. In his work, AJ is always willing to learn new tactics and think of things differently in order to help students. He has served in several strategic roles in Chicago Public Schools and currently advises a range of educators from principals and school systems leaders to his own organization’s CEO and CFO in his current position with CSC Consulting Group.
AJ’s work has proven to him that by investing in leaders and promoting new ideas in organizations, sustainable change will occur. His work and results include:
As a Student Advocate in Chicago, supporting students and their college access goals by implementing a college readiness system and, later, developing a data-informed financial aid support system and other strategic postsecondary partnerships.
As a Project Manager in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), designing, rolling out and evaluating an innovative system of teaching and learning which improved student achievement and college enrollment rates, especially in schools with predominantly low-income and minority students.
As an EP Fellow, analyzing teacher and student data in a struggling Chicago community and helping produce a new data-driven system of professional development and performance management. The system allowed leaders of the schools to better guide their staff toward results for students, and trained teachers to use data to inform instruction to better meet the needs of their students.
As a Data Strategist in CPS, training school leaders of low and high performing schools to use analytics and strategic planning to ensure continuous improvement. As a result of his work, and his collaboration with coworkers and other data strategists in the district, the schools he worked with improved dramatically, including some achieving local and national recognition.Now he works to ensure that all types of organizations, but especially schools, leverage leadership to pursue innovation, equality and social progress.