Tara Sawalha – Kristoff

Doctoral Student, University of Illinois

Presenter Biography

Tara Sawalha – Kristoff’s passion is curriculum development from instructional practices to assessment. Her strength is in building curricula in all subject matters, especially science, math, social studies, English language arts, STEM, STEAM, and physical education. Her work is building the STEAM labs at Cook County School District 104 was highlighted as one of the best STEM programs in the country by the National Science Teachers Association January 2017 reports. Currently, Tara is earning her doctorate in educational policy, organization, and leadership at the University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign. The focus of her dissertation is the impact of the new Illinois Acceleration Act on school district leaders. Tara holds a Type 03 elementary education license with endorsements in gifted education, general science, social science, English language arts, and English as a Second Language. She also holds a Type 75 general administration license. Tara is certified to evaluate teachers and school principals. An expert in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), she has presented at educational conferences nationwide, teaching educators the pedagogy shifts as well as creating units of study and assessments. She is also an expert in the integration of teaching science and English language arts together. In addition to her work with curriculum, Tara Kristoff has also served as an Illinois Learning Initiative Trainer for the Illinois Education Association and a grader for the Illinois Science Assessment. As a teacher and as an administrator, Tara has collaborated with diverse student and staff populations. Her focus is always doing what is in the best interests of the children. Therefore, Tara has enacted equitable curricula, gifted programming, curriculum review cycles, programs to increase after school student engagement, and programs to incorporate more parental involvement. Today, Tara is working with several colleagues on creating a social and emotional learning curriculum that can be embedded in the academic school day.

Additional Qualifications

Illinois Type 03 Elementary (Standard) • Endorsement in self-contained general education K – 9 • Middle School Endorsements for General Science, Social Science, and Language Arts • Endorsement in Gifted Education for K – 9 • Endorsement in English as a Second Language for K – 9 Illinois Type 75 (General Administrative) • Endorsement in General Administration • Illinois Superintendent Endorsement expected 4/2019 • Passed modules 1 – 5 to be a Certified Teacher Evaluator • Passed modules 1 – 5 to be a Certified Principal Evaluator Illinois State Board of Education Assessment Grader for the Illinois Science Assessment

ROE/ISC Contact

Anthony Marinello
[email protected]
Region 07 South Cook ISC 4