The student news site of Jones College Prep High School


The student news site of Jones College Prep High School


The student news site of Jones College Prep High School


All about Dolan

Jones College Prep welcomes new principal, Kerry Dolan
Photo credit to Gus Zaruba 24
Photo credit to Gus Zaruba ’24

Tucked away in the main office sits new Principal Kerry Dolan, ready to step into her role and build her vision of Jones College Prep. The school has been operating under temporary leadership for roughly a year, so the introduction of Dolan is a major advancement for the school seeking a new direction.

“I have been creating some systems and structures for the school,” said Dolan. “You all have been without a consistent long-term leader, so I am making sure that people are all on the same page and communicating.” 

Dolan is currently getting acclimated to life at Jones: its students, faculty, and staff. She previously worked as an assistant principal at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy High School, about half the size of Jones.

“A lot of my work so far has been greeting people, and getting to know all the people who make up the building,” said Dolan. 

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With lots of changes in the administration over the past few years, Dolan is working to build back trust in the Jones community. The disconnect between administration and students has been an especially vocal issue, and Dolan is making it a priority that student voice is amplified. 

“I’m doing a lot of listening and a lot of note-taking,” said Dolan. “What a lot of people need to see in order to rebuild that trust is to know that somebody is listening and somebody is responding to what they’re hearing. I think that response piece is the biggest; people need to see that I’m actually processing and responding to what people are sharing with me.”

Dolan knows CPS from a few different perspectives. She sees the systemic issues through a parent lens, and an administrative lens, but also through a student lens, as a Lincoln Park High School graduate. 

“I have very vivid memories of my mom dragging me across the city on the CTA applying to different schools because she was not satisfied with my neighborhood elementary school,” said Dolan. “It was clear to me that education was valued by my parents, but being an educator was not on my radar.”

Dolan grew up in a family that was low-income and figured out from an early age that throwing herself into her education could be her ticket out. While she was passionate about her own education, she was not initially set on becoming a teacher. Dolan studied Journalism, French, and Arabic in college. It was only after working as a teacher’s assistant for one of her collegiate French classes that she shifted her focus from an interest in foreign affairs to teaching. After graduating, she applied for Teach for America, an organization that aids post-grads to have a meaningful impact on young people and build the foundation of a meaningful life and career.

“I was in college in New York at the time, and I accepted their offer, only if they let me come back home. I was not going to go into teaching and give back and not be able to do that in Chicago,” said Dolan.

Dolan grew up witnessing the injustices of the city’s highly selective and tiered public education system. The unequal distribution of resources and disproportionate allocation of funds to selective schools that characterize CPS were apparent in her childhood. 

“In my junior year of AP English Lang, I was assigned Savage Inequalities by Jonathan Kozol, a book about the state of public education and basically disparities between public education systems,” said Dolan. “It specifically talks about Chicago and the suburbs, and even though it was written in the 90s, it still holds true. That lit a fire in me.”

Dolan began to see inequities within the education system in a different light while enrolling her daughter in Chicago Public Schools.

“I was appalled by some of the student outcome differentials for students who were Black versus students who were not at some of my local elementary schools,” said Dolan. “Seeing firsthand from a parent’s lens, how wildly different outcomes can be for kids simply based on the color of their skin, I couldn’t stay in the classroom. I needed to do more.”

Her commitment to ensuring equal opportunities for all students in Chicago inspired her to pursue a career in school administration, changing the system from a higher level of influence. Part of ensuring equal opportunities is making sure students have a voice, something Dolan is extremely enthusiastic about. She is excited to share her ideas that promote this, specifically student-led initiatives. 

“I started an equity team at Brooks, which evolved to talking about how we can support students more holistically. Having feedback and firsthand interaction with students was really important,” said Dolan.

Dolan plans to connect the school community by creating a weekly newsletter highlighting important information regarding upcoming school events, scheduling, and reminders. Additionally, she wants to build personal relationships with students, through grade-level town halls, hoping to foster an open relationship between students and the administration. Dolan looks forward to becoming a strong force in the Jones community and getting to know the student body. 

“Hands down students are the best part of this job,” said Dolan.


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About the Contributors
Celia Pincus '24
Celia Pincus '24, Deputy Editor-in-Chief
Samantha Dombar '24
Samantha Dombar '24, Journalism I

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