The mission of CICS Avalon is to prepare its students to enter, succeed in, and graduate from college.


Our Leadership

Principal (K-4): Lindsey Robinson

Upon graduating high school in 2001, Lindsey’s college experience took her on a remarkable journey that has shaped her life thus far and helped her to become the person that she is today. In 2001, Lindsey spent her first undergraduate summer and freshman year at Northwestern University in Chicago. For the remaining three years, she ventured through classes and life in Champaign-Urbana, IL, where she also became a member of the prestigious organization Teach For America. She graduated with a Bachelors in Sociology and accepted the mission of becoming a 2005 Camden, NJ Corps Member for Teach For America. After completing her corps experience, Lindsey went on to work at Providence Englewood Charter School and was featured in the award winning documentary, “The Providence Effect.” She was the first teacher to score 100% of her demonstrated contribution on our teacher evaluation scale, started the SOAL (Summer Opportunity of a Lifetime) program, and served as department chair for three years. During this time, Lindsey acquired two Masters Degrees in Education, one from the University of Illinois at Springfield and one from DePaul University in Chicago. In wanting to serve scholars in a greater capacity, Lindsey applied for and currently is part of the Accelerate Institute’s Ryan Fellowship Principal Program. After completing a one year internship, Lindsey is now serving in her third year as Elementary School Principal of CICS-Avalon. Lindsey leads a school with a staff of 25. Every day she steps into the building, she is focused on the critical priorities – observation and feedback, data analysis, student culture, staff culture, content, and professional development - that are going to lead her scholars to success.

Principal (5-8): Mary Griffin

Ms. Griffin has worked at CICS Avalon since 2012, when she began her career as the seventh and eighth grade writing teacher and a Teach for America corps member.  Mary worked at Avalon throughout its turnaround, helping to take the school from Chicago Public School’s lowest possible school quality rating in 2012 to the highest possible rating in 2014.  After serving as a teacher leader for two years, Mary became a Principal Fellow in the 2015-2016 school year.  She holds a B.A. from Tufts University and an M.A. in educational leadership from The Summer Principals Academy at Columbia University.

Director of Operations: Andres Tolentino

David Andres Tolentino is a graduate from the University of Cincinnati and currently serves as the Director of Operations at CICS Avalon.  Andres has led the operations team to create a successful school environment that fosters student achievement and character development.  Andres was previously an Art Teacher and Special Projects Coordinator for Uncommon Schools - Rochester Prep in Rochester, New York.

Our Deans

  • Mia Safford: Elementary Dean of Students
  • Leroy Palmer: Middle School Dean of Students

Our Teachers

Elementary School

  • Haley Spencer: Kindergarten Teacher
  • Variona Carr: Kindergarten Teacher
  • Jennifer Wayland: Kindergarten Teacher
  • Alicia Smith: Kindergarten Teacher
  • Reva Davis: 1st Grade Teacher
  • Vaughn Goodwin: 1st Grade Teacher
  • Ashley Morris: 1st Grade Teacher
  • Keyahna Curry: 1st Grade Teacher
  • Halimah Jackson: 1st Grade Teacher
  • Cameron Ruby: 2nd Grade Teacher
  • Mollie Darmon: 2nd Grade Teacher
  • Ashley Anderson: 3rd Grade Teacher
  • Marquise Washington: 3rd Grade Teacher
  • Kelly Hickman: 4th Grade Teacher
  • Ryan Saathoff: 4th Grade Teacher
  • Brionna Robinson: Elementary School Special Education Teacher
  • Michael McMahon: Elementary Physical Education Teacher
  • Lauren Griffin: Elementary Music Teacher

Middle School

  • Christina Ahme: 5th Grade Mathematics Teacher
  • Stephanie Edens: 5th Grade Literacy Teacher
  • Elizabeth Parks: Middle School Grade Science Teacher
  • Elyssa Buss: 6th Literacy Teacher
  • Danyelle Jones: Middle School Art Teacher
  • Kevin Busch: 7th-8th Grade Literacy Teacher
  • Nikolas Piltawer: Middle School Social Studies Teacher
  • Lawrence Marshall: 7th-8th Grade Mathematics Teacher
  • Valerie Brown: Middle School Special Education Teacher
  • Lytaka Allen: Middle School Physical Education Teacher

Our Support Team

  • Erica Badie: Social Worker
  • Ellana Coleman: Paraprofessional
  • Cleotha Jackson: Paraprofessional
  • Jose Torres: Paraprofessional
  • William Taylor: Paraprofessional


Contact Us:

1501 E 83rd Place
Chicago, IL 60617
(773) 721-0858