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Pritzker transition announces Educational Success Committee

Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Today, Governor-elect JB Pritzker announced the formation and members of the transition’s Educational Success Committee at Genevieve Melody STEM Elementary School in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago.

The committee is the seventh of several working groups of the transition made up of subject-matter experts who will advise and guide the incoming Pritzker-Stratton administration. The Educational Success Committee will be chaired by state Sen. Andy Manar, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice Jackson, and Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin and consist of 35 members.

“Every child in this state deserves a quality education – regardless of the color of their skin, the zip code they come from, or the income of their parents,” said Governor-elect JB Pritzker. “The transition’s Educational Success Committee will confront the challenges students, parents, and teachers face head on and with fierce urgency. If we want to put Springfield back on the side of working families, we must give every student the opportunities they deserve.”

“Educating our children is a foundational obligation of state government, and that’s why I led the charge to update our antiquated K-12 school funding formula to make it equitable for every child,” said state Sen. Andy Manar. “We must build on that progress, and that’s exactly what this committee will do. JB and Juliana are laying the groundwork for a cradle to career success network for every Illinoisan.”

“As chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education, I’ve seen the challenges facing students and educators in our state colleges and universities,” said state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch. “This committee is a sign of new hope for those vital institutions, and for our children’s futures. Together, we’re going to delve into the root issues and present possible solutions for this new administration so they can hit the ground running.”

“JB and Juliana are committed to making sure kids succeed throughout the education pipeline,” said Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice Jackson. “The state must step up to ensure every child can thrive from cradle to career, and this committee will work every day to make sure JB and Juliana are ready to do that on day one.”

“Serving on this committee means more than 135,000 educators and educational support professionals across the state have a seat at the table,” said Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin. “The incoming administration has shown a strong commitment to funding K-12 education, a promise to invest in higher education, and a pledge to protect collective bargaining rights. It’s the kind of agenda Illinois needs to get back on track, for the sake of our students and teachers.”


State Sen. Andy Manar co-chairs the transition’s Educational Success Committee and represents the 48th senate district. Before being elected to the senate, he was Macoupin County Board chairman, mayor of Bunker Hill and a Bunker Hill city councilman. Manar was the driving force behind the successful movement to reform Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula. Since he became a state senator, he has been a tireless advocate for fair and adequate school funding that doesn’t treat students differently based on zip codes. Manar serves on the education, agriculture, labor and executive appointments committees in the state senate.

State Rep. Chris Welch co-chairs the transition’s Educational Success Committee and has represented the 7th district since 2013. Welch chairs the House Higher Education Committee and serves on several key House Committees including Cities and Villages, Judiciary-Civil, Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations, Higher Education Appropriations, Revenue, and Executive. As state representative, Welch has focused on improving classroom education, creating jobs, helping the most vulnerable, and streamlining government. Welch has been the chief sponsor of several pieces of historic legislation including the law bringing cursive writing back to our schools and the Historic Illinois Trust Act, the law making Illinois a welcoming state for immigrants.

Dr. Janice Jackson co-chairs the transition’s Educational Success Committee and is the CEO of Chicago Public Schools. Jackson was a CPS student from Head Start through 12th grade, then began her teaching career at Chicago’s South Shore High School. Since that time, Dr. Jackson has served as a principal, a Network Chief, the Chief Education Officer, and now, as Chief Executive Officer for CPS, the third largest school district in the country. Jackson was also the driving force behind GoCPS, the District’s first common application for all CPS and charter high schools. Launched in October 2017, this application system has dramatically simplified the high school application process while improving access and equity for all CPS high school students.

Kathi Griffin co-chairs the transition’s Educational Success Committee and is the President of the Illinois Education Association, which at 135,000 members strong, is the largest union in Illinois. Griffin started her career as a teacher in Schaumburg and worked there for 30 years. During her time with Schaumburg School District 54, she taught kindergarten through sixth grade students. She also served six years as president of her local union. Prior to becoming the President of the IEA, she was Vice President of the IEA and was a member of the National Education Association’s Board of Directors. Griffin is a member of the state’s Professional Review Panel. She co-chaired former Senator Mark Kirk’s education advisory board and was a member of Tammy Duckworth’s 8th Congressional District education advisory board when Senator Duckworth was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dr. Michael Amiridis, Chancellor, University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Carmen Ayala, Superintendent, Berwyn North SD 98

Christine Benson, Retired Superintendent, Mendota High School

Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, State Senator, Illinois General Assembly

Dr. Dale Chapman, President, Lewis and Clark Community College

Dr. Brent Clark, Executive Director, Illinois Association of School Administrators

Fred Crespo, State Representative, Illinois General Assembly

Will Davis, State Representative, Illinois General Assembly

Dr. Larry Dietz, President, Illinois State University

Dr. Kenneth Ender, President, Harper College

Dr. Jennifer Garrison, Superintendent, Vandalia 203

Phyllis Glink, Executive Director, Irving B. Harris Foundation

Dr. James Heckman, Professor, University of Chicago

Dr. Ed Hightower, Executive Director, Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities Foundation

Kimberly Lightford, State Senator, Illinois General Assembly

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

Maria Whelan, President and CEO, Illinois Action for Children

Dr. Barbara Wilson, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Illinois System



  1. - education first - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 12:23 pm:

    Where are the “clients”/students in this transition? Not represented at all. If you don’t change who is brought to the table, not much will change.

  2. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 12:24 pm:

    No Beth Purvis?

  3. - My New Handle - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 12:28 pm:

    Unless there is a way to involve parents/guardians in a student’s schoolwork and discipline, the success won’t meet expectations.

  4. - OneMan - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 12:33 pm:

    – Too many people
    – At least three should just be public school parents
    – Grab some students and/or recent graduates from the state universities.
    – Fewer PhDs

  5. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 12:41 pm:

    ===No Beth Purvis?===

    No Dr. Diana Rauner?

  6. - Groucho - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 12:51 pm:

    Would think that business/employers would have some input.

  7. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:00 pm:

    ==Where are the “clients”/students in this transition?==

    The funny thing about education is, everyone’s been a student.

  8. - OneMan - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:07 pm:

    == The funny thing about education is, everyone’s been a student. ==

    Yeah, but they may have attended very different schools and school today ain’t what it was when I went to school.

    Would make sense to have some current or very recent consumers part of the mix.

  9. - I Hate Bobby Knight - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:14 pm:

    Dr. Ed Hightower was one of my favorite Big Ten basketball officials because he always gave the road team a fair shake.

  10. - Honeybadger - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:14 pm:

    Great choice with Dr. Carmen Ayala of North Berwyn District 98.

  11. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:18 pm:

    Interesting that there is not one current school board member on this list. School Board members across this state are elected to ensure that the schools are run properly and effectively. They receive no pay and also receive most of the grief if something goes wrong. Many school board members have years of experience and all too often they are completely ignored. And yes, as a school board member I feel slighted. (Just kidding) But it really is bad form to not have one board member.

  12. - SW - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:19 pm:

    The list pretty much includes “the problem.”

  13. - flea - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:20 pm:

    tough trying to herd this group to some sort of consensus other than we need more $

  14. - Nolan - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:23 pm:

    Looks great if you love the status quo

  15. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:30 pm:

    First thing that struck me… not one K-12 teacher.

  16. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:41 pm:


    The usual list, nothing that says “out of the box” or anything like that.

    No IASB representation is interesting. Kim Lightford is a disappointing addition. She is very confident of her knowledge, but has only served to apply a one size fits all approach to a very diverse state with very diverse issues.

  17. - Retired Educator - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:43 pm:

    This is a large collection of problem makers not problem solvers. This group has been a large portion of the movers, and shakers for education, for many years Things have not gotten better. How about some real stake holders, and fewer talking heads?

  18. - Steve - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:48 pm:

    Maybe, the schools will become as good as the private schools many politicians send their children to.

  19. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:55 pm:

    Maybe this will keep these people busy enough they won’t have the time to interfere with education.

  20. - Nick Name - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 1:55 pm:

    ===Where are the “clients”/students in this transition? Not represented at all.===

    Who? Student council presidents?

  21. - Retired - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 2:01 pm:

    Very few from south of I-80. Must not be any education going on outside of the Chicago Metro area with a few exceptions . No parents, no recent high school graduates, and an inadequate number of real practitioners.

  22. - OneMan - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 2:03 pm:

    == Who? Student council presidents? ==

    Would that be such a bad idea? Get a kid from south of I-80.

    Perhaps a study body president from a state school with a direction in it’s name.

  23. - Change Agent - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 2:04 pm:

    “Who? Student council presidents?”

    A group like Voices of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) would have been an obvious choice.

  24. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 2:06 pm:


  25. - Just Me - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 2:07 pm:

    ==First thing that struck me… not one K-12 teacher==

    Did you look at the list? Kathi Griffin and Jane Russell are both K12 teachers.

  26. - Unionman - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 2:11 pm:

    No k-12 private/parochial school representation

  27. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 2:20 pm:

    I would love to see more community colleges and trade schools included. We really need to rethink how education is approached, even as early as elementary school. Trades are looked down upon in my kids’ school, they shouldn’t be. Also agree with previous comment, fewer talking heads needed.

  28. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 2:33 pm:

    Are any of these people public school parents? Where are the parent advocates? Would have been nice to include someone from Raise Your Hand, or a parent rep from a Local School Council or school board. Not even token representation. I also agree with others that a student or representative of a student organization would have been nice.

  29. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 2:44 pm:

    Pritzker says “The transition’s Educational Success Committee will confront the challenges students, parents, and teachers face head on and with fierce urgency.” Students are mentioned first, parents second, and then teachers. Yet no representation from students or parents.

    Griffin says her presence provides 135,000 teachers a seat at the table. There are 2 million public school students in Illinois. Where is the seat at the table for them and their parents?

    I’ve been impressed by the thoughtful composition of the other transition committees. This seems like their first misstep.

  30. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 2:46 pm:

    One last thought - they couldn’t find any accomplishment by Janice Jackson to highlight other than the HS application process?

  31. - Truth Squad - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 2:49 pm:

    Zero representation for anyone that even remotely supports school choice. So much for these broad and visionary groups. Yawn for the status quo.

  32. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 2:53 pm:

    ===even remotely supports school choice===

    Try again. Stand for Children was brought to Illinois by Bruce Rauner.

  33. - Just Observing - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 3:42 pm:

    ==First thing that struck me… not one K-12 teacher==

    === === Did you look at the list? Kathi Griffin and Jane Russell are both K12 teachers. === ===

    Let me clarify… I meant a more rank n’ file teacher. Are Griffin and Russell still even in the classroom?

  34. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 3:43 pm:

    No parents? Really?

    I know several of the folks in this group and they all have children. Turns out they were all students back in they day as well.

    This is the transition group; they will meet a few times between now and inauguration. The important work going forward will be in the appointments to ISBE, IBHE, and ICCB as well as the selection of top staff.

  35. - In 630 - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 3:56 pm:

    The Heckman inclusion says that early childhood, birth-five programs are on the radar

  36. - Barrington - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 3:58 pm:

    I echo the above comments. This committee is disappointing.

  37. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 4:02 pm:

    Yet another committee with no one south of I-64. Barely anyone south of I-72. No current teachers. (Griffin and Russell aren’t current teachers, they’re administrators and a union president.) No students, no parents, no school board members. Thank goodness a bunch of people who aren’t in the classrooms dealing with students are going to tell us how to educate. Sigh.

  38. - west wing - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 4:10 pm:

    Too many interest groups and not enough innovation; too title-driven, top-heavy … wish them success, but will expect standard results

  39. - Hoping for Rational Thought - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 4:51 pm:

    As a school board member I’m disappointed by lack of representation…

  40. - Matthew - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 5:12 pm:

    No one from Rockford. Actually, other than our Mayor on the economic team, has anyone else from RFD been on a single committee?

  41. - Commonsense in Illinois - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 5:52 pm:

    The teachers unions and status quo are very well protected by these 35. Look for more spending but little improvement in outcomes for students.

  42. - Leatherneck - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 7:50 pm:

    Ostro worked for GOMB under Blago

  43. - Skeptical - Tuesday, Nov 27, 18 @ 9:57 pm:

    Gee, this looks like the same set of actors that were on Rauner’s group chaired by Beth Purvis. Why are there only special education administrators? Where are the parents?

  44. - Dee4Three - Wednesday, Nov 28, 18 @ 12:05 am:

    Considering the passing of a cursive writing bill as one of your key accomplishments is both sad and hilarious.

  45. - Tim - Wednesday, Nov 28, 18 @ 8:51 am:

    Just curious, where are the practitioners?
    There are no students on this committee nor are there any current teachers.

  46. - Jerry - Wednesday, Nov 28, 18 @ 8:55 am:

    I have to wonder about committees this size. Can they really get anything done?

  47. - KM - Monday, Dec 3, 18 @ 8:37 pm:

    Are these people paid for this work? Expenses reimbursed?

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