Gov.-Elect Pritzker Announces Educational Success Committee

Tuesday, November 27, 2018


Chicago, IL — 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

Dr. Christine Benson, Retired Superintendent, Streator Elementary District 44

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 Community Unit School District #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 A. 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, Professor Emerita, 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



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