Friday, June 17, 2016

Toni Potenza Named Bacon Chair and NDTA Executive Director

I am very pleased to announce that Toni Potenza, Associate
Professor of Early Childhood Education,
has been appointed as the Warren Bacon Chair of Urban Education and the Executive Director of Roosevelt's New Deal Teacher Academy.

Dr. Potenza has served for the last three years as associate dean for the College of Education, and before this appointment was Vice President and Dean of Roosevelt's Schaumburg Campus from 2004 - 2010.  Dr. Potenza is an expert in language development and is widely recognized as a leader in Chicago in the field of early childhood education.

Warren Bacon received a bachelor's degree from Roosevelt University in 1948 and an MBA from the University of Chicago in 1951. A lifelong resident of Chicago, Mr. Bacon began his business career with Supreme Life Insurance Company of America after three years of military service during World War II. He also was an executive of Inland Steel Co., serving as director of community relations and president of the Inland Steel-Ryerson Foundation.

Mr. Bacon worked for many years to improve public education, including serving on the Chicago school board from 1963 - 1973 during one of the most turbulent times of the school system`s history. After leaving the school board, Mr. Bacon remained active in education issues. As president of Chicago United, a multiracial consortium of business and professional leaders working to improve social and economic conditions, Mr. Bacon participated in the 1987 school reform movement. That movement resulted in the Chicago School Reform Act. Mr. Bacon also served as chairman of Harold Washington`s successful 1983 mayoral campaign. In 1991, Roosevelt University bestowed an honorary doctorate on him.

Warren Bacon was passionately concerned with developing the full potentialities of school children and knew that one of the most critical issues confronting Chicago is the improvement of the school system through which their lives might be enriched. His abiding interest is perpetuated through the Endowed Chair that bears his name.  Within the broad mandate of improving urban education, Dr. Potenza will focus attention upon improving the preparation of Roosevelt students for employment as public school teachers in increasingly diverse and low-income schools and communities.

Roosevelt's New Deal Teacher Academy was created in 2014 to provide enhanced focus and support for all Roosevelt teacher preparation programs and to ensure that program graduates are deeply committed to the values and convictions of Roosevelt University and are among the most well prepared teachers in Chicago and the nation.

Named in honor of FDR’s New Deal, the NDTA prepares undergraduate and graduate students to become early childhood, elementary, high school, music, and special education teachers.  The programs within the NDTA are supported by faculty from the College of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Chicago College of the Performing Arts, and the College of Business.  Current enrollment in the NDTA is approximately 260 students.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Potenza on her new appointment!

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