Director of Education – North Lawndale
Roel serves as the Director of Education for North Lawndale. In this role, he focuses on: relationship-building and collaboration with North Lawndale school leaders and grantees; evaluation through monitoring the implementation and progress of key initiatives; knowledge development through learning and sharing the latest research findings and practices related to the Foundation’s strategic priority areas; development of new partnerships, opportunities, and connections for grantees and the Foundation; and knowledge dissemination through reporting on the progress of initiatives and lessons learned with internal and external stakeholders.

Roel most recently served as the Director of Partnerships for the Midwest Region for EL Education, a national education non-profit that offers resources and professional learning in K-12 curriculum and school design. There he led a team in support of continuous improvement for equity work through strategic planning, coaching, and training in schools and districts across the region. 
 
Before his work at EL, Roel co-founded and co-led Polaris Charter Academy located in West Humboldt Park. Over his ten years with Polaris as Director of Academics, Roel led the growth of the school with his co-founders from its start-up as a K-2 school in 2007 to becoming a full K-8 school recognized as an EL Education credentialed mentor school. Previously, Roel was a classroom teacher for grades 4-8 and was a recipient of the Golde Apple Award for teaching.
 
Roel earned both his Bachelor of Arts in English and his Master of Science in Elementary Education from Northwestern University and received his certification in Administration and Supervision through New Leaders and in Advanced Education Leadership through the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is completing his Doctorate in Education in Organizational Change and Leadership at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. Roel enjoys dance and he was a hip hop dancer with Culture Shock Chicago. Roel resides in Chicago with his husband Marcus and the two enjoy travel, time with family and friends, staying involved in their church, and caring for their two dogs.