Having gone from a life of poverty on the west side of Chicago to becoming a Harvard graduate, Nancy Hanks knows firsthand that one’s future is not predetermined by their personal circumstances. As a teacher, principal, and systems leader she has led both the development of technical systems and the cultivation of values and beliefs necessary to hold all students and adults to high expectations and provide them the support they need to meet that high bar.
As a principal in Chicago, Hanks led the transformation and continual growth of her school as well as the successful transition of adding 90 minutes to their school day – a complex move that led to improved literacy and math outcomes as well as a more well-rounded school day for her students and staff and eventually sparked similar change across the city. Her leadership as Chief of Schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District led to across the board gains in elementary schools. In addition to a ten point increase in literacy and mathematics overall, 17 schools made at least ten point gains in literacy in five years, and five schools made over 20 point gains in literacy over five years. She also led the development of the district’s school support system, a more targeted way of connecting principals and their school teams with the support they need to execute on their individual strategies.
In her current role as a partner, executive coach, and trainer at the Management Center, Nancy supports progressive senior leaders in school districts, CMO’s, and non-profit organizations across the country to establish the systems to effectively lead and manage complex work while grappling with issues of race and equity in their organization and in their personal leadership practices.
Through her belief in hard work and resiliency, balanced with humor and humility, she is continually out to prove that all students and adults can cultivate their unique gift and talents and achieve at high levels. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Southern Illinois University and a Masters Degree in School Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a devoted daughter, sister, aunt, and friend.