Sections:

Article

MEDIA GUIDE: New 'Who's Who' at the top of Chicago's Public Schools... Rahm's Chicago Board of Education showed corporate America's true colors at Board meeting on June 15... 'Rahm's Rainbow' will dazzle as long as Chicago media follow Hollywood scripts and ignore brutal Chicago realities...

When Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced his education team and the people he was going to name to the seven-member Chicago Board of Education, many Chicagoans were curious. For the first time since mayoral control began in 1995, the Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools would be someone who had actually done some K-12 teaching in his life (Jean-Claude Brizard). The diverse group of people who would be serving on the Board of Education would include a couple who had children in the public schools. One had even been a public school principal for a brief time. In addition to providing the requisite ethnic and racial diversity that's been a prerequisite to produce the "rainbow" since the 1990s (called "Richie's Rainbow" after the backdrop Richard M. Daley used to provide the TV cameras at every media event), the members of the Board also reminded the public that some of them had children in the public schools.

For those who had long played trivial pursuit games as critics of mayoral control, Rahm Emanuel proved that he was casting and scripting his team to immediately answer — with facts — any and all critics who pretended that street cred, teacher cred, or parent cred was going to be important when adherence to the corporate version of "school reform" was about to go into even higher gear in Chicago. Simplistic versions of reality, many of them based on the struggles that an earlier generation won in the 1960s and 1970s, weren't going to work.

The new Board of Education would have parents and others, so the old "Gotcha!" games of the Daley era would fail.

And the new Chief Executive Officer would be black (although not technically an African American) and a veteran teacher, school principal, and school administrator. By 2011, the key was corporate America, and the fact that every one of them had been carefully vetted by Rahm Emanuel so that his administration could produce the Rainbow — but a rainbow firmly committed to continuing the vicious corporate agenda of privatization, union busting, and the transfer of millions of dollars of public funds and assets (locally) in the context of billions (nationally) out of the public's control and into the hands of "entrepreneurs" and (a recent neologism) "edupreneurs." Rahm's Rainbow was going to be Richie's Rainbow on steroid, with all the macho craziness and dishonesty that the previous steroid eras — from East German swimmers to Major League sluggers — had been. Apparently gone were the days when critics could note that virtually all of the members of the Board were millionaires (which had been generally true about the Board members who served under Richard M. Daley). The Board would get at least one mere millionaire (David Vitale) from Rahm, and its first billionaire (Penny Pritzker), but the critics who wanted to make it personal were going to face a harder time.

Prior to the opening gavel of the Special Meeting of the Chicago Board of Education on June 15, 2011, the members of the Board and the new executive team at Chicago's public schools were taking their seats. Left to right above, Board President David Vitale (whose sign said "member" until the Board members voted to elect him their President), charter school fanatic Noemi Donoso (Chief Education Officer), and Board member Penny Pritzker, the first anti-public school billionaire to serve as a member of an American school board. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.But by the end of their first meeting, all of the members of the Chicago Board of Education appointed by Rahm Emanuel had proved why they were there: They voted in favor of Rahm's program to create a confrontation with the Chicago Teachers Union and the other unions who represent Chicago school workers. That opened the door for some of Rahm's most bizarre utterances to date.

The new "team" at Chicago Public Schools constitutes the greatest change in public education leadership in 18 years, and possibly in history. Even between 1995 and 1997, when Mayor Richard M. Daley first achieved mayoral control over the Chicago schools, changes in executive management and middle managements were great, but possible not as great as Mayor Rahm Emanuel has done.

This article is a "Who's Who and Where From?" of the major people appointed by Rahm Emanuel, with the description provided by the mayor during his transition and additional information as available.

We begin with the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education.

On June 15, 2011, for the first time in 16 years, long time observers of the Chicago Board of Education arrived at the Board to meet an entirely new cast of Board members. Much had changed since the last major shakeup. In 1995 and 1996, when Mayor Daley first appointed what was for two years called "The Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees", the Board met in chambers inside the vast federal complex that stretched for several blocks each and west of the center building at 1819 W. Pershing Road. Shortly, amid great fanfare (and cost), the first Chief Executive Officer of CPS, Paul Vallas, announced that he was moving the Board and the bureaucracy out of 1819 W. Pershing Road. Supposedly the move was to "reduce bureaucracy" and save the taxpayers money.

The chosen site for the new headquarters of the Board of Education was 125 S. Clark St. in Chicago's Loop, three blocks south of City Hall. The Clark St. building was purchased from Commonwealth Edison and then rehabbed to make it ready for the public schools at a huge cost. Chicago's corporate media repeated Vallas's talking points but ignored questions about the cost of the move to Clark St. and whether the deal was in fact a favor to Commonwealth Edison, which has long held major sway over the city's public education systems (someone from Com Ed has been a member of the Board for generations; a year ago Richard M. Daley appointed a Com Ed executive with no education experience to head the Chicago City Colleges).

On April 18, the day he announced that he was choosing Rochester Schools Supt. Jean-Clude Brizard to be Chief Executive Officer of Chicago's public schools, Rahm Emanuel also announced the rest of the "team" he would be sending to CPS, either as members of the Board of Education or in other capacities. The following is the information released that day:

Mayor-elect Emanuel announces Chicago Public Schools leadership team Apr. 18th 2011

CPS Senior Leadership

Jean-Claude Brizard, Chief Executive Officer

Already in the midst of a tour of Chicago schools, former Rochester New York Schools Supt. Jean-Claude Brizard (above, with Andrea Zopp, a Board member, behind him) had his first Board meeting on June 15, 2011. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Jean-Claude Brizard is Superintendent of Schools for the Rochester City School District. Under his leadership, the district's graduation rate increased and student scores in English Language Arts and Math improved. Prior to his time in Rochester, Brizard worked for 21 years as an educator and administrator with the New York City school system. As a New York City Regional Superintendent, Brizard supervised more than 100 K-12 schools serving over 100,000 students. Prior to holding that position, Brizard served as Executive Director for Secondary Schools, Region 8 Instructional Superintendent, and as a high school principal. He began his career in education as a high school physics teacher and junior high school science teacher. Brizard is a commercial pilot and a native of Haiti. He holds a Master’s Degree in School Administration & Supervision from The City College of New York, a Master’s Degree in Science Education from Queens College, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Queens College.

Foreground, Noemi Donoso (Chief Education Officer) and Rodrigo Sierra (member of the Chicago Board of Education). Substance photo June 15, 2011 by George N. Schmidt.Dr. Noemi Donoso, Chief Education Officer

Dr. Noemi Donoso is Director of Denver Public Schools’ Office of School Reform and Innovation. Previously, Dr. Donoso was Chief Academic Officer for the high-performing Camino Nuevo Charter Academy network. Dr. Donoso served as the founding principal of Camino Nuevo's first middle school. Previously, Dr. Donoso served as the turn-around principal of two K-8 charter schools in MacArthur Park, Los Angeles and East Harlem, New York. Prior to becoming a principal, Dr. Donoso taught high school English and Advanced Placement History for eight years at Foshay Learning South Los Angeles. Approximately 70% of her students went on to become the first in their family to attend four-year universities. Dr. Donoso holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Planning from the University of Southern California, a Master's from Rutgers University and a Bachelor's from Mount St. Mary's College.

Tim Cawley, Chief Operating Officer

After a career in the private sector, including executive positions at Motorola, Tim Cawley became a major factor in public education in Chicago when he went to work for the Academy for Urban School Leadership, the group that destroys real Chicago public schools through highly paid "turnaround" contracts. Cawley had barely been at CPS a month when he presented the highly inaccurate but brutally effective nine-page Power Point version of the "budget crisis" to justify the Board's vote against the union contract. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Tim Cawley is is currently Managing Director for Finance and Administration at the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL). Cawley joined AUSL after a 30-year business career, holding senior management positions at Fortune 500 companies. Cawley has served as Senior Vice President of Global Logistics and Fulfillment for Motorola’s Integrated Supply Chain, President of SBC/Ameritech Interational, and Chief Executive Officer for RevellMonogram. He began his career with Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest consumer packaged-goods company.

Diana Ferguson, Chief Financial Officer

Diana Ferguson is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Chicago Public Schools. Before becoming CFO, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of The Folgers Coffee Company, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Merisant Worldwide, Inc. and Chief Financial Officer of Sara Lee Foodservice, a division of Sara Lee. Ferguson holds a B.A. from Yale University and a Master's degree from Northwestern University.

Andrea Sáenz, Chief of Staff

Andrea Saenz (above, at the June 15, 2011 Board meeting) was appointed "Chief of Staff" to the Board by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on April 18, 2011, and attended her first Board meeting on June 15, 2011. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Andrea Sáenz currently serves as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Vocational and Adult Education in the United States Department of Education (USED). Previously, Sáenz was executive director for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, where she collaborated with Fortune 500 employers, universities and Chicago Public Schools to increase Latinos’ access to professional and management careers. Prior to holding that position, she was a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Fels Government Research Service, where she worked on data-driven performance management for Philadelphia public schools and the Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation. Sáenz began her career in non-profit leadership at Congreso de Latinos Unidos, where she led an initiative to open the first bilingual one-stop career center in Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies from Scripps College and a Master’s degree in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Becky Carroll, Chief Communications Officer

Becky Carroll has directed communications policy for the City’s Housing and Planning and Development Departments and the Mayor’s Press Office. She managed the communications and community outreach strategy for the launch of Mayor’s Daley’s Five-Year Affordable Housing plan and served on the Cabrini Green/Near North Side Redevelopment Plan Task Force. In 2007, Carroll joined President Obama’s campaign as National Director of Women for Obama, where she implemented a national outreach strategy to engage women voters. She spent the last two years in the private sector as Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club. She is a graduate of the Chicago Public School system. Carroll holds a Bachelor's in Communications and Political Science from Loyola University.

Patrick Rocks, General Counsel

Patrick Rocks is the current general counsel to the Chicago Public Schools. Previously, Rocks was First Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago's Department of Law. Rocks earned a Bachelor's at Loyola University and graduated from John Marshall Law School.

Alicia Winckler, Chief Human Capital Officer

Alicia Winckler is the current Chief Human Capital Officer of the Chicago Public Schools. Previously, she served as a senior human resource manager for several major corporations, including Sears Holdings, Inc. and Sears, Roebuck and Co. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of South Dakota and a Master's from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Office of the Mayor

Elizabeth Swanson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Education

After leaving her job in the budget department of CPS two years ago, Elizabeth ("Beth") Swanson (above right at the June 15, 2011 special meeting of the Chicago Board of Education) went to work for Penny Pritzker at the Pritzker-Traubert Family Foundation. She is now Rahm Emanuel's special assistant at City Hall in charter of education. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Elizabeth Swanson is the Executive Director of The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, which invests in people and programs that enrich the life experiences of Chicago’s children. Prior to joining the Foundation, Swanson led the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Office of Management and Budget under CEO Arne Duncan. Swanson has also served as director of the CPS Office of Extended Learning Opportunities. Swanson has devoted her career to youth development and education reform, working for both local and federal government, as well as a number of non-profit organizations. She holds a Bachelor's from Amherst College and Master's in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. Swanson's two school-aged children attend CPS schools.

Board of Education

David Vitale – Board of Education President

David Vitale served as Chief Administrative Officer of Chicago Public Schools under CEO Arne Duncan. Before joining CPS, Vitale was Chief Executive Officer of the Chicago Board of Trade and Vice Chairman and Director of Bank One Corporation. Vitale currently serves as Chairman of the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a nonprofit teacher residency program, and as Executive Chair of Urban Partnership Bank. Vitale's daughter is a CPS student. He holds a Bachelor's from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Jesse Ruiz – Board of Education Vice-President

Jesse Ruiz was elected Vice President of the Board of Education at the beginning of the June 15, 2011 meeting. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Jesse Ruiz is Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education and a partner at the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath. Ruiz served as a Commissioner on the Chicago Public Schools Desegregation Monitoring Commission. He is chief legal counsel to the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation. In early 2011, Ruiz was appointed to the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission, which will examine the impact of school finance on educational opportunity.

Henry Bienen – Board Member

Henry Bienen at his first meeting as a member of the Chicago Board of Education on June 15, 2011. On that day, Bienen was one of the Board members who asked carefully scripted questions following the mendacious Power Point brought to the Board by newly appointed (former Motorola and AUSL executive) Tim Cawley. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Henry Bienen served as President of Northwestern University from 1995 to 2009. Under his leadership, Northwestern grew its research output, academic standing, and facilities. Previously, Bienen served as Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Beinen has been a consultant to the U.S. Department of State. He received his Master's and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and his Bachelor's from Cornell University.

Dr. Mahalia Hines – Board Member

Some teachers had expected Mahalia Hines (above) to pay attention to the needs of the city's public schools, since she had some experience as a public school principal in Chicago. By the time Hines (above, at the June 15, 2011 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education) completed her scripted questions to Alicia Winckler (they basically gave Winckler the opportunity to produce inaccurate information about the size and scope of teacher Lane and Step raises, which Hines supposedly already knew and didn't have to place into the public record in such mendacious form), observers had stopped believing that anyone appointed by Rahm Emanuel would support teachers and improvements in the city's real public schools. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. Dr. Mahalia Hines served as a principal in Chicago Public Schools for 17 years. Prior to that, she was a teacher in Chicago Public Schools for over 14 years. Dr. Hines works closely with the Common Ground Foundation, which empowers youth in urban neighborhoods, and continues to share her knowledge and experience as a mentor to new principals. She earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois, where she focused on how to prepare teachers for urban education. She also holds a Master's degree from Northeastern University and a Bachelor's degree from Central State University.

Penny Pritzker – Board Member

Billionaire heiress Penny Pritzker (above, during the presentation by Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis at the June 15 Board meeting) likes to promote her career as an 'entrepreneur' as if she had begun with a street cart peddling ice cream, instead of with a billion dollars to spare and degrees from Harvard and Stanford. At her first Board meeting after being appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to the Chicago Board of Education, she could barely contain her dislike of the unions and real public school teachers represented by CTU President Karen Lewis. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Penny Pritzker is a businesswoman and education advocate. She chairs the Chicago Public Education Fund which raises venture capital for high-impact investments in Chicago Public Schools. She also co-directs the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation which supports programs for Chicago children in the areas of education, health and fitness, and arts and culture. Pritzker is Chairman of the Board of TransUnion, Chairman/CEO of Pritzker Realty Group as well as chair and co-founder of Vi (formerly Classic Residence by Hyatt), The Parking Spot and Artemis Real Estate Partners. She holds JD and MBA degrees from Stanford University and a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Harvard University.

Rodrigo Sierra – Board Member

The fact that Rodrigo Sierra spent his entire career in corporate America was considered a plus by Rahm Emanuel in appointing Sierra (above at the June 15 Board meeting) as one of the seven members of the Chicago Board of Education. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Rodrigo Sierra is Chief Marketing Officer of Johnson Publishing Company, publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines. He has long been committed to children in the CPS. As a former journalist, he launched the Chicago high school writing contest that awarded students for their work. He has been a member of New Leaders for New Schools, is co-chair of the Goodman Theatre Education Committee, and has long served as Principal for a Day. Sierra has worked as deputy press secretary to Mayor Daley and was an award winning reporter at WGN Radio and ABC News, New York. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and holds an MBA from Kellogg School of Management. Sierra and his wife, Elizabeth, are the parents of four current or former CPS students.

Andrea Zopp – Board Member

Andrea Zopp is president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. She has been general counsel for several major corporations, including Sears Holdings Corporation and Exelon. Zopp also served as First Assistant State's Attorney for Cook County. Zopp has been a CPS parent since 1997. Four of her children have graduated from CPS schools. From 2002 to 2004, Zopp served on the Local School Council of Henry R. Clissold Elementary. She holds both a Bachelor's and a JD from Harvard University.



Comments:

June 23, 2011 at 11:58 AM

By: Jackson Max

make-up of Bd. of Ed.

WE HAVEN'T A CHANCE WITH THIS BOARD. TEACHERS WILL GET SCREWED, STUDENTS SHORTCHANGED. DON'T BELIEVE THEY ARE GOING TO DO THINGS FOR THE CHILDREN. THEY ALREADY HAVE THEIRS AND HAVE NO REAL STAKE IN CPS. TWO PEOPLE WITH CHILDREN IN CPS--HA. CLISSOLD IN BEVERLY AND WHERE ARE THE OTHERS ATTENDING? SOOOO GLAD MY CHILDREN ARE OUT OF THE SYSTEM. THEY RECEIVED A GREAT EDUCATION FROM THE SCHOOLS THEY ATTENDED WITH OUTSTANDING TEACHERS AND PRINCIPALS. BY THE WAY, WHERE WILL THE MAYOR'S CHILDREN ATTEND SCHOOL? HOW ABOUT THE NEW SCHOOL CHIEF? LET'S SEE HOW SELECTIVE THEY GET. PITY THOSE SCHOOLS, OR MAYBE NOT. LET'S SEE IF THE EXTRAS FIND THEIR WAY TO THOSE SCHOOLS. REMEMBER THE NEW SCHOOL GERRY C.'S CHILD WENT TO? I HAVE MOVED OUT OF THE CITY AND COUNTY JUST BECAUSE OF THE UPCOMING CRAP!!! DIDN'T ONE OF THE MAYOR'S PEOPLE JUST GET A TWO YEAR EXTENSION TO MOVE INTO THE CITY BECAUSE HE WANTS HIS KIDS TO CONTINUE IN THEIR CURRENT SCHOOLS? PEOPLE, YOU HAVE FOUR YEARS TO REGRET YOUR CHOICE AND FOUR YEARS TO FIND SOMEONE ELSE. WATCH OUT EVERYONE S _ _ _ IS ABOUT TO HIT THE FAN!!!!

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at substancenews.net. We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

2 + 1 =