Governor-elect JB Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton are continuing to build a strong team to lead the state. Today, the governor-elect and lieutenant governor-elect made the following personnel announcements for their incoming administration:
Emily Bittner will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications in the Office of the Governor. Bittner currently serves as Chief of Strategy for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a role she began in 2017 after serving for three years at Chicago Public Schools, where she led the district’s communications and strategic efforts during the push for historic education funding reform. Bittner served as an adviser for Mayor Emanuel’s 2015 re-election campaign. Bittner previously led communications strategy serving as the chief spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, and the Democratic Governors Association. She began her career as a reporter at The Arizona Republic covering public safety. Bittner is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she earned degrees in journalism and political science.
Jordan Abudayyeh will serve as Press Secretary in the Office of the Governor. Abudayyeh currently serves as press secretary of the transition and served the same role on Pritzker’s gubernatorial campaign. She joined the campaign after nearly 6 years in broadcast journalism. Abudayyeh previously was a political reporter for Springfield’s ABC affiliate WICS-TV, an anchor and producer for Naperville’s NCTV17, and an associate producer for Milwaukee’s WISN-TV. She received her Bachelor of Arts in broadcast and electronic communication from Marquette University.
Tiffany Newbern-Johnson will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs in the Office of the Governor. Newbern-Johnson currently leads Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s state legislative agenda as the Deputy Director of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs. She previously served as assistant counsel to House Speaker Michael Madigan in the Technical Review Unit and was an attorney in the City of Chicago Law Department’s Buildings and License Division. Newbern-Johnson received her Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in criminology, law, and justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Alicia Tate-Nadeau will serve as Director of Homeland Security and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA).* Tate-Nadeau currently serves as the executive director of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications where she oversees an over $291 million budget and 2,100 personnel. She previously served as the Assistant Adjutant General - Army in the Illinois National Guard and led a 12-person rapid response force for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. While serving as the FEMA Region V incident management assistant team lead, Tate-Nadeau was deployed to the Flint, Michigan, water crisis to serve as the deputy federal coordinating officer. Prior, Tate-Nadeau served over 32 years in the National Guard, becoming the first female General Officer in Illinois National Guard history. In 2005, she was deployed to Iraq with a Multinational Division serving as an information operations officer. Tate-Nadeau’s awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Polish Bronze Star and numerous other awards. She received her Master of Strategic Studies in Military and Strategic Leadership from the US Army War College, Master of Health Administration from Governors State University, and Bachelor of Science in Health Services/Allied Health/Health Sciences from University of Central Oklahoma.
Janel L. Forde will serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS).* Forde currently serves as the chief operating officer of the City of Chicago after serving the same role at the Illinois State Board of Education. Previously, she served as a deputy commissioner of the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facility Management and as the director in the Office of the CEO at Chicago Public Schools. Forde was also a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, a marketing manager at American Express, and a junior consultant at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. She received her MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Theresa Eagleson will serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS).* Eagleson currently serves as the executive director of the Office of Medicaid Innovation at the University of Illinois system, joining in 2014 after spending over a decade in management at HFS. She served as the state Medicaid director, deputy administrator of the Division of Medical Programs, and senior adviser to the administrator during her 15-year tenure. Prior, Eagleson served two Republican governors’ administrations, leading the Medical & Child Welfare Division of the governor’s budget office and serving as Gov. Edgar’s policy adviser for health and human services and as senior budget analyst. A Mattoon native, she received her MBA from the University of Illinois at Springfield, formerly Sangamon State University, and her Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Heidi Mueller will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ).* Mueller has spent nearly five years at IDJJ and was appointed to serve as director by Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2016 where she oversees the care, custody, and services provided to youth committed to the Department by Illinois Courts. Prior to joining IDJJ, Mueller served as the Director of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, advising the Governor and General Assembly regarding juvenile justice policy and practice and administering the state’s federal grant funding under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. Her background includes development and management of community programs for justice-involved youth, legal practice, front-line youth services, and social science research. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School, Master of Arts in social psychology from Stony Brook University, and Bachelor of Arts in psychology and history from Macalester College.
Matt Perez will continue to serve as Illinois State Fire Marshal.* With over 30 years of experience in public safety, Perez was appointed as Illinois State Fire Marshal by Governor Bruce Rauner in 2015. He previously served as fire marshal for the City of Aurora. During his 27 years with the department, Perez became certified as a paramedic and rose to the rank of assistant chief. Before beginning his career in the fire service, Perez worked as a patrol officer in the Kane County Sheriff’s Department. He received his Bachelor of Science in Fire Service Management from Southern Illinois University.
* Appointment pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.