Degrees and Certifications:

Bachelor's at University of Illinois at Chicago English Education and English-Writing Master's of Education at UIC Literacy, Language, and Culture Certifications Secondary English Teaching Reading Specialist Library Media Specialist National Board Certification

Mrs. Gina Caneva

I grew up in Lockport, Illinois a small suburb right outside of Joliet and graduated from Lockport High School in 1999.  I went on to win a Division 1 volleyball scholarship to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).  At UIC, I observed and student taught in Chicago Public Schools and went on to graduate with a Bachelor's in Secondary English Education and English-Writing.  Soon after graduation, I began my fifteen-year career in CPS at Corliss High School on the far south side of Chicago in the Roseland neighborhood.  At Corliss, I taught Creative Writing, Journalism, Advanced Placement Literature and Composition, World Literature, and British Literature.  I also coached the varsity teams of Boys' and Girls' Volleyball, ran the newspaper, started a literary magazine, and put on poetry slams.

After three years, I left Corliss to help begin a new school in Chicago called TEAM Englewood which was part of the small schools initiative in Chicago in the Englewood neighborhood also located on the south side of Chicago.  I was a founding English teacher, and I had the awesome opportunity to loop with my students for four years, which also meant I created all of the curriculum for my students as they grew from year to year.  I taught English I, English II, English III, AP Language and Composition, and AP Literature and Composition.  I also ran a marathon with my students, ran AP study groups, obtained my Masters' of Education in Literacy, Language, and Culture at UIC, became English Department Chair, and became Nationally Board Certified.  

After five years at TEAM, I joined the faculty at Lindblom Math and Science Academy, a selective enrollment high school in Chicago's West Englewood neighborhood.  During my first year, I taught English II and AP Literature and Composition.  I also volunteered in our school library in the mornings, and I fell in love with the library so much so that I became the school librarian the following year and went to library school at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign via their online program for the library media specialist endorsement.  For two years, I led the Instructional Leadership Team with foci on teacher leadership and literacy.  During my third year, I created a peer tutoring center called the Writing Center which helped to make the library the heart of the school.  In conjunction with students in the Writing Center, we averaged 700 tutoring sessions a year, turned our library into a Haunted House, ran a clothing drive for an Englewood shelter, ran a talent show, and helped to make the stigma of asking for help disappear.  I collaborated with teachers all across the curriculum to deliver research lessons and booktalks.  I also coached two Aspen Challenge teams with our first Aspen Challenge team winning the competition.  During my final year, I submitted and became a semi-finalist for the Follett Challenge bringing in $30,000 in resources to Lindblom's library.  

I began as the East Leyden library media specialist in the fall of 2019.  I immediately gained a passion for East Leyden's students, faculty, and staff in much the same way as I did at my other schools.  A major part of my job is to inspire students to read, and this often comes by way of quarterly book talks and book displays.  In addition, I co-teach research lessons and run freshmen library orientations.  In cooperation with my Student Supports colleagues and assistant, Daina Shuipys, I began to think of ways to re-organize and revitalize the library for easier student use.  We've also implemented policies and procedures to help the library run smoothly.  

Outside of my career, I enjoy spending time outdoors with my husband, Mark and children Maddie and Nathan.  I am also currently in the doctoral program at UIC for Literacy, Language, and Culture.  Finally, I am an avid writer of op-eds on a variety of topics about education.  I have been published locally in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Southside Weekly, and Chicago Reporter, and nationally in Education Week, Ms. Magazine, and U.S. News and World Report.  Follow me on Twitter--@GinaCaneva