Our School Leaders


Allison Slade, Founder 

Over the past two decades, Allison Slade has served as a teacher, professional developer, mentor and curriculum designer in urban and suburban settings. She is a certified teacher and administrator and prior to opening Namaste, worked as a literacy specialist, providing professional development workshops and in-classroom coaching and mentoring for Chicago Public Schools teachers. Ms. Slade began her career teaching Kindergarten in inner city Houston as a Teach for America corps member, a challenging and rewarding experience that set her on the path to founding Namaste Charter School. Ms. Slade has consulted and presented for the Illinois State Multicultural and Diversity Conference, Boundless Readers (formerly The Rochelle Lee Fund), and National Louis University and served as an assessor for the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and Master’s degree in Education Policy from the University of Chicago’s Harris School as a McCormick Tribune Fellow. She completed her Type 75 administrative credential through Loyola University Chicago. Ms. Slade currently serves as one of 38 nationwide ambassadors for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

John Paul Arellano, Elementary Instructional Leader

John Paul Arellano joined the Namaste staff in the summer of 2013. Mr. Arellano earned his Bachelor’s degree in Chicano Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and received his bilingual credential from San Diego State’s BCLAD program. He comes from San Diego, California, where he taught elementary school for six years in a dual language setting at a progressive charter school.   In addition to his experience as a dual language teacher, he spent his time as a member of the Instructional Leadership Team, where he organized and implemented school-wide and district-wide professional development sessions focusing on the Common Core Standards and student discourse. Mr. Arellano’s work focuses on a student-centered humanistic approach to instruction and the power of student voice and dialogue in reaching clarity of thought. His work in this area was published in the 2012 edition of Teaching to Change the World and his videos of student dialogue have been used as examples of best practices in the area of language acquisition in the State of California.