Chicago Educator Veriner James Builds a Legacy As The Second African American...

Chicago Educator Veriner James Builds a Legacy As The Second African American Woman to Open a Private School in Chicago, Exousia Leadership Academy for Girls


How do you respond, when you witness lack in areas of your community? Do you attempt to make a change or walk away?  Well, when Chicago Educator, Veriner James noticed deficiencies in education, she didn’t walk away, but walked in faith and launched Exousia Leadership Academy for Girls in Chicago.

Over 30 years ago, this young woman had no idea, that her life experiences were grooming her to become an “Agent of Change” in education for young girls everywhere.  As an educator for over 15 years, Veriner James has observed inconsistencies in the educational system and in 2017, she decided to become a vehicle of change for Chicago’s youth.

Standing confident and determined, Veriner James is the second African American woman to open a private school in the city of Chicago.  Mrs. James’ vision and endeavors come behind the rich legacy of pioneer, Marva Collins, who founded Chicago’s Westside Preparatory School in Garfield Park in 1975.

This “Game Changer” has been successful in devising plans that decrease inappropriate behaviors school-wide, increase student achievement and support teachers by implementing strategies that evaluate and improve their instructional practices.

Veriner James is ready to make a change and doesn’t shy away from leadership. She has been recognized for having an authentic “Grace” and ability to connect with and instruct youth of all ages. As a little girl, I always wanted to be the person “In Charge”. When my cousins and I played, I was the mother. When we played school, I was the teacher. When we played church, I was the preacher. Looking back, I didn’t realize those moments in my childhood were preparing me, for moments in my life, where I’d need to “take charge.” -Veriner James

Growing up in a household, where both parents made it priority, for her to receive the best education, Veriner was confident that, education was the key to changing the community around her. “My parents worked hard to ensure, we had a quality education. My father worked two full time jobs to put my brother and I through Private elementary and high school.”-Veriner James

As the Head of School and second African American woman to open a private school in the city of Chicago, Veriner is dedicated to providing a quality education, that challenges young girls, to identify who they are, by shaping their minds and character, growing them into women who will one day transform the world.

Mrs. James holds a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science (National Louis University), a Master of Arts in Secondary Education (University of Phoenix) and second Master of Arts in School Leadership (Concordia University). She is currently working towards attaining her doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. When Mrs. James is not in the classroom, she enjoys traveling with her husband and son.

Exousia Leadership Academy for Girls is a non-profit private school, whose mission is to provide an integrated educational system of high standards to engage all students in an academically rigorous project based curricula, promoting a strong foundation in the sciences, technology, engineering, arts, and math relevant to real world context and building on student character, health, and community assets to prepare students for future academic endeavors. Exousia Leadership Academy for Girls is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2018.

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Click and Watch Head of School-Veriner James Share her Vision