Dr. Saundra R. Mickles brings accomplishments from both the public school and the non-public school sectors. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Music Education, Dr. Mickles began her career in education as a Chicago Public School (CPS) elementary school music teacher. In addition to teaching music, she developed a curriculum that integrated music and social studies for grades four through eight. She organized a school choir that competed in local competitions and directed winter and spring musicals that featured students, parents, and staff members.
After six years at CPS, she accepted a position as a third/fourth grade and music teacher in a Chicago parochial school. It was during this time that Dr. Mickles decided to pursue a Master of Arts in Educational Administration and Supervision (Educational Psychology). Soon after receiving the degree, she accepted the position as the elementary school principal in the same parochial school. While at the parochial school, experience was gained in supervising certified and non-certified staff, developing curriculum, improving community/public relations, and grant writing. She was later able to use this knowledge and applied it in a position as a Chicago suburban elementary school principal. As a public-school administrator, she was successful in securing funding for several school projects, computers for classrooms, implemented creative initiatives, and involved the community in school activities while earning a Doctorate in Education (Educational Administration and Supervision/Policy Studies). Her dissertation focused on professional development and the use of music in an Accelerated Learning curriculum.
After ten years as principal, Dr. Mickles became Director of Curriculum and later Assistant Superintendent in the same suburban school system. Dr. Mickles’ area of expertise was concentrated in grant writing, managing grant funds, curriculum development, professional development, analyzing assessment data, school reform/improvement, and human resources. She participated and/or facilitated various district level committees. Additionally, Dr. Mickles has facilitated workshops in utilizing state and local assessment data, project-based learning, and incorporating music into core subject areas. She was instrumental in revitalizing the District Band Programs and implemented a District Beginning and Advanced Choral Ensembles. In 2013, Dr. Mickles retired after 35 years in elementary education and took a position in a high school district as a Human Resource Consultant. In 2015, she was hired as the Interim Superintendent in the district she retired. She was responsible for the day-to-day decisions of the educational programs of ten schools. She implemented district-wide Restorative Justice Practices, developed several community partnerships, supervised and collaborated with the district administrative team, instructional and support staff to set and achieve the highest standards of excellence.
Dr. Mickles has been an adjunct profession at Olivet Nazarene University, Concordia University and in Governors State University’s Alternative Certification Program. Currently, she is a Governors State University Lecturer. She instructs future leaders in the Principal Leadership Program and current leaders in the Interdisciplinary Leadership Program. Dr. Mickles is also the Coordinator of the New Leaders Mentor Program and provides mentors and their protégés with professional development and support for new administrators in the south suburban school districts. Dr. Mickles is a member of National Association for Music Education, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, National Association for Elementary School Principals, Phi Delta Kappa, and Illinois Principal Association.
In her spare time, Dr. Mickles enjoys reading mysteries and playing keyboard in a small smooth jazz band. These accomplishments were achieved with the support of her husband and two adult children.