Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker today announced his seventh transition team. This one is charged with advising Pritzker on policies for all levels of education, and has almost three dozen members, including 10 advocacy group leaders, six lawmakers (all Democrats), four public university officials, three community college officials, and one current principal.
Leading the group will be four co-chairs: Janice Jackson, CEO of Chicago Public Schools; Kathi Griffin, president of the state's largest teachers union; State Rep. Chris Welch, who will focus on colleges and universities, and State Sen. Andy Manar, the legislator who authored and pushed through a complete overhaul of the state's school funding formula.
The team is heavy with union members, but doesn’t have anyone specifically representing school boards.
These teams serve a purely advisory, unpaid role, although history has shown many transition advisors go on to serve cabinet positions.
When Bruce Rauner was elected governor, his six-person education transition team included Tony Smith (then a foundation director), Beth Purvis (then CEO of Chicago International Charter Schools), Al Bowman (then the president emeritus of Illinois State University), and Lazaro Lopez (then an associate superintendent at High School District 214). After Rauner was sworn in, Smith became state superintendent of schools; Purvis became Rauner’s Secretary of Education; Bowman became executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education; and Lopez became chair of the Illinois Community College Board. Purvis has since left the state to work for the Kern Family Foundation, a Wisconsin-based philanthropy that has supported Gov. Scott Walker and legislative candidates who back school vouchers.
Here’s the complete list of the team:
Dr. Michael Amiridis, Chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago
Dr. Carmen Ayala, Superintendent, Berwyn North SD 98
Christine Benson, Retired Superintendent, Mendota High School
State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood)
Dr. Dale Chapman, President, Lewis and Clark Community College
Dr. Brent Clark, Executive Director, Illinois Association of School Administrators
State Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates)
State Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood)
Dr. Larry Dietz, President, Illinois State University
Dr. Kenneth Ender, President, Harper College
Dr. Jennifer Garrison, Superintendent, Vandalia Community Unit School District #203
Phyllis Glink, Executive Director, Irving B. Harris Foundation
Kathi Griffin, President, Illinois Education Association
Dr. James Heckman, Professor, University of Chicago
Dr. Ed Hightower, Executive Director, Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities Foundation
Dr. Janice Jackson, CEO Chicago Public Schools
State Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood)
State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill)
John Miller, Vice President, Illinois Federation of Teachers
Mary Morten, Board Chair, Safe Schools Alliance
Zena Naiditch, President and CEO, Equip for Equality
Ginger Ostro, Executive Director, Advance Illinois
Kevin O’Mara, Professor, Concordia University
Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Director of Policy, Erikson Institute
Sylvia Puente, Executive Director, Latino Policy Forum
Dr. Aisha Ray, Retired Professor, Erikson Institute
Mimi Rodman, Executive Director, Stand for Children Illinois
Dr. Kevin Rubenstein, President, Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education
Jane Russell, Vice President, Illinois Federation of Teachers
Juan Salgado, Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago
Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, President, Chicago State University
Gloria Trejo, Principal, Pioneer Elementary School
State Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch (D-Hillside)
Maria Whelan, President and CEO, Illinois Action for Children
Dr. Barbara Wilson, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Illinois System