The Niles Township High School District 219 Board of Education approved the appointment of the first K-8 Instructional Coordinator for the Classrooms First Collaboration (CFC). James Vernola will serve in the role, where he will facilitate the implementation of K-8 STEM and Literacy programs developed by the CFC team.
Vernola is currently a Teacher and Team Leader at Community Consolidated School District 62, which is headquartered in Des Plaines. Vernola has designed and led multiple professional development opportunities, engaging a learning community in math, literacy and arts integration. As a systems thinker, Vernola redesigned and implemented recess structures and procedures and believes in creating systems where students and teachers feel supported and successful. He has designed and led training on Kagan Cooperative Learning strategies, as well as training on CHAMPS, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and restorative practices. Vernola is passionate about leadership, specifically building trust and authentic relationships.
Vernola has also served for the past two years at Maine West High School as Assistant Band Director, leading 150 band members through many community performances and shows and co-leading all athletic bands.
Vernola previously served Milwaukee Public Schools, where he coached and mentored teachers and led teams in alignment with various district initiatives. As an MBA student, Vernola developed a peer coaching and mentorship program that was later adopted by Milwaukee Public Schools through an $80,000 grant. Vernola is passionate about equity and ensuring every student and staff feels supported, and has access to the tools they need to be successful.
Vernola earned an MBA in Education Leadership from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education with an endorsement in Special Education from University of Wisconsin at Whitewater.
“CFC began as a small initiative and has evolved into an extraordinary collaboration amongst partner school districts in Niles Township,” said Christine Gonzales, Executive Director of K-12 STEM & Literacy. “The Instructional Coordinator positions support our goal of developing a cohesive, guaranteed and viable K-12 curriculum and assessment program. In addition to working with teachers to connect content to individual classroom contexts and build a common understanding, the Instructional Coordinators will support teachers in learning and using skills and strategies for innovative instruction, differentiation, and the effective use of technology to improve student learning.”