Our Administration

A Letter from the Principal

Welcome to Ravenswood Elementary!

We provide students with outstanding academics and embrace the social-emotional development of every child.

When I joined Ravenswood in the fall of 2013, I discovered the most vibrant, thriving school community I’ve ever encountered. Ravenswood is a special place! In both academics and school environment, our community strives to provide the best experience possible for our students and families. We are a truly diverse community, and we embrace that diversity as a strength and core value.  We believe that education transforms us, our community and our world.

We know that learning in an integrated arts environment leads to students who are strong communicators, creative thinkers, and more deeply engaged citizens and family members. Our curriculum celebrates the integrated arts through many perspectives:  through the eyes of young students learning about culture through reading and writing, from fourth-grade students examining westward expansion through the lens of student-created artifacts, to middle school students studying how to design and produce show sets. Students also take dance, drama, and visual arts each week along with physical education.

We continue to make outstanding academics, diversity and inclusion, an arts-oriented curriculum, and a commitment to social equity part of our mission every day.

There is a supportive, celebratory environment at Ravenswood that takes many forms and enriches students, families and staff. I enthusiastically invite you to come visit us and see for yourself that great things happening at Ravenswood!


Nate Manaen, Principal, Ravenswood Elementary School

Our Team


Principal Nate Manaen

Twitter: @PrincipalManaen

Principal Nate Manaen is currently in his 6th year as principal at Ravenswood. Prior to joining Ravenswood, Mr. Manaen worked as a coach in schools in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods of Chicago. Before that he served as a principal resident at Palmer Elementary in Chicago and the Guild School in Boston.

He also taught in Las Vegas and Minneapolis before coming to Chicago and has earned his M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and his Ed. M in School Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Assistant Principal Barbara Karrel

Assistant Principal Barbara Karrel comes to Ravenswood with over 10 years experience as an educator in Chicago Public Schools. Barbara completed her undergraduate work at Colorado State University where she studied natural resources management. After college, she moved to Portland Oregon where she tutored adults in speaking English as a second language. She also volunteered with local nonprofits to provide kids with outdoor education programming. It was these experiences that helped her see that she wanted to become an educator. Barbara earned her MS in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University while she began teaching in CPS. She spent the majority of her teaching career working in the intermediate grades, concentrating in literacy and social studies instruction in both bilingual and ESL classrooms. After earning her MA in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Illinois, she was selected by CPS’s Chicago Leadership Collaborative to be a resident principal at Ravenswood Elementary School. After her one year residency at Ravenswood, she was honored to be able to return the following school year as the assistant principal. When Barbara is not working, she loves spending time outdoors with her husband, Cesar, son, Max and their two collies Lad and Luke.