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Dr. Janice K. Jackson is CPS chief for good

Crusader Staff Report

LaTanya McDade
LaTanya McDade

Dr. Janice K. Jackson became the permanent Chicago Public Schools chief on Wednesday, January 24, when the Chicago Board of Education unanimously approved her appointment, pleasing Black leaders who publicly urged the city to give her the job full-time. Jackson had been acting CEO for the last month. LaTanya McDade, who has filled Jackson’s seat as the district’s new chief education officer, was also approved Wednesday.

As CEO of CPS, Jackson will earn $250,000 a year.

“As Chicago’s students continue to shatter national academic records and make unprecedented progress in and out of the classroom, nobody is more qualified or capable to continue to support their success and lead the district into the future than Janice,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

Emanuel appointed Jackson interim CEO of CPS after her predecessor, Forrest Claypool, resigned following a scathing report that cited him for serious ethical violations of misconduct. Claypool was accused of lying about his ties to a law firm he supervised while CPS sued the state for school funding.

With more school closures, dwindling enrollment and financial woes at CPS, all eyes are on Jackson to turn around the nation’s largest school district. For years, activists have pushed Emanuel to appoint an educator rather than an executive to lead CPS. Claypool, who was once the chief of the Chicago Transit Agency, had no background experience in education.

A Chicago native, Jackson rose through the ranks of CPS. A Chicago State alumna, she holds a doctorate degree in education. She has spent most of her life in CPS classrooms. A graduate of Hyde Park High School, Jackson served as a social studies teacher at South Shore Community Academy High School and principal at Al Raby High School on the West Side, then at Westinghouse College Prep.

On WTTW Channel 11, Jackson identified three commitments in her first public comments to the Board of Education since her appointment as Chicago Public Schools newest leader: continuing academic progress, finding financial stability, and improving the public’s trust in the school system.

“Know that as I transition I am prepared to continue the positive momentum the district has made academically, but also address some of the more topical issues, and also more difficult issues, that our city faces,” she said, mentioning specifically the upcoming school actions, district enrollment and special education reforms. “While we may disagree sometimes on policy and how to get there, we do agree on one common goal: ensuring that children receive the best experience possible in our schools.”


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