My name is Eileen Dominic, and I am thrilled to be joining The Graide Network Team as the new Member Success Manager.
A little bit about me: I grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, but have called Chicago home for the past eight years. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2013 with a degree in Communication studies, I joined Citizen Schools as an AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow. I chose this path because I have always been passionate about education, but was seeking more experience in a school and non-profit setting before considering becoming a full-time teacher.
My four years at Citizen Schools were a formative experience. As a Teaching Fellow, I was part of a small team that launched expanded learning time in a new partner middle school. I worked at the school full time, pushing into classrooms to deliver small-group language arts instruction and individual coaching during the day, then running programming during after-school time. My favorite part of the Fellowship was working with teams of volunteers from corporations and community organizations to lead hands-on, career-focused “apprenticeship” classes two days a week. I got to work with pilots, emergency response professionals, entrepreneurs, marketers, and product designers to teach middle school students about new subjects and help them develop their communication and problem-solving skills.
I LOVED working with students in small groups and one-on-one, but over the two years of the fellowship, I struggled with whole group instruction. Teaching full time was not for me, but I discovered that I really shined in working with our volunteers to turn their big-picture visions into lessons that could be implemented in the classroom, and my campus teams also came to rely on me as the go-to person for details, event planning, and day-to-day logistics.
After I finished my two years in the Fellowship, I was offered a position on the Citizen Schools Illinois regional administrative team as the Operations Coordinator and accepted. In this role, I acted as the liaison to our national Human Resources, technology, and finance departments and took on behind-the-scenes administrative and operational work so that our program team could put more of their time and energy into directly serving their schools and students. My favorite parts of this role were contributing to planning and progress monitoring around regional goals with our regional admin team and using my experience as a teaching fellow to be the bridge between school-based Teaching Fellows and regional office team members.
When I began my search for my next role, I was already familiar with The Graide Network because Citizen Schools and The Graide Network both were members of the Chicago Literacy Alliance, working out of the same co-working space in downtown Chicago. The Member Success Manager role was exactly what I was looking for in my next job: an operational role on a small, super-collaborative team where I could contribute to problem-solving and decision-making, and the chance to use my relationship-building and communication skills to drive forward mission-based work that ultimately serves students.
I’m thrilled to get to continue doing work to support students and teachers. I have already had a chance to work with a few of our awesome Graiders, and I am super excited to recruit, train, and support next year’s cohort. While my background dabbling in liberal arts and social sciences might fool some, I also have a love of technology and design, so am very excited to get into the tech side of education. I’m also excited to use my observations and teacher and Graider insights to help make The Graide Network platform better day-by-day.
Outside of work, you’ll find me reading novels on the train, listening to podcasts, cooking ambitious recipes, running outside, and trying to learn to draw at the little studio down my street.