All in 220: Nora Carranza
Nora Carranza hasn’t slowed down since retiring from Barrington 220 in 2021. She is an active board member of the Chicago chapter of the Ecuadorian Volunteers Association. She volunteers with the Museum of Science and Industry by helping to decorate the tree from Ecuador for its popular “Christmas Around the World” exhibit. Her five grandchildren also keep her busy. “I enjoy traveling, going to the gym, cooking, reading, and seeing my friends and family,” Carranza said.
In her retirement, she also remains a very active member of the Barrington 220 community, as a sponsor of the BHS Latin American New Roots Dance Club, which she founded in 2006. “The club has a special place in my heart,” Carranza said. “It is a unique group of talented students who participate throughout their entire high school journey.”
Many of the participants are siblings of BHS alumni who were also club members. “It is encouraging to see the pride they take in preserving their Latino heritage through music,” Carranza said. “I believe we are forming future leaders in our community and that is something I am proud of.”
Born in Quito, Ecuador, Carranza moved to the United States in 1970. She attended Townson University in Maryland, where she studied computer science. She is a certified Family Educator and has also taken many courses to teach adult education and ESL classes. She joined Barrington 220 in 1997, working as a Family School Liaison at Sunny Hill Elementary.
“From the start, I felt welcomed by the district administration and staff," Carranza said. “I enjoyed assisting families in many ways such as teaching parents English as a Second Language and citizenship classes, helping with translations, and providing them with community resources.”
“I first met Nora in 1998 when she was serving as the Family School Liaison at Sunny Hill,” said Becky Wiegel, Barrington 220’s Director of Language Programs, Grants & Family Engagement. “She taught English classes several times per week to parents and caregivers who were interested in learning English. She always had a gigantic graduation celebration at the end of the year where participants received a "diploma" for all of their hard work and growth in learning English. It was always quite the celebration and you could feel the pride oozing from the participants as they were recognized.”
At the beginning of her time in Barrington 220 Carranza also helped start the Bilingual Parent Advisory Council, better known as BPAC. She worked with other members of the council to invite professional speakers from different fields of expertise to educate parents and teach them skills to help their children be successful in school. “Through her work with BPAC, Nora spent nearly 30 years nurturing and fostering a growth and leadership mindset among our bilingual parent group,” Wiegel said. “Nora's greatest strength is her ability to create relationships.”
During the second half of her career in Barrington 220, Carranza worked with families across the district, spending time at the District Administrative Center, as well as Barrington High School. “It made me happy to help each new family when they arrived in the district,” Carranza said.
Her positive impact on students and families across the district is immeasurable, and it continues even in her retirement. “She has changed the lives of so many people and Barrington 220 is lucky to have her,” Wiegel said.