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Mayor Lightfoot and BOE President del Valle Select Dr. José Torres to Serve as Interim CEO at Chicago Public Schools

14 June 2021

Pending Approval by the Board of Education at its June Meeting, Dr. José Torres Will Serve as Interim CEO Beginning July 1, 2021, as the Search for a Permanent CEO Continues

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CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Board of Education President Miguel del Valle announced today that veteran educator Dr. José M. Torres has been selected to serve as interim Chief Executive Officer at Chicago Public Schools upon CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson’s departure at the end of this month. Dr. Torres is a veteran educator with decades of experience who began his career as a teacher and most recently served as President of Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA). Throughout his career, Dr. Torres has held a variety of prominent leadership positions including Superintendent of Elgin School District (U-46); Regional Superintendent at Chicago Public Schools for Englewood, West Englewood, Chatham, Grand Crossing and Auburn Gresham; and a variety of other educational leadership positions during his decades of public service.  

"From the East Coast to the West Coast, to right here in the Midwest, Dr. Torres has a proven track record of improving the lives of public school students and staff," said Mayor Lightfoot. "His decades of experience, as well as his past leadership roles, make him a great candidate for the role of interim CPS CEO and I am confident that he will lead us well through this critically important transition. I want to congratulate Dr. Torres on this opportunity to serve our city once more and look forward to seeing how he prepares our children for success in the very near future."

“Serving the incredible students, staff, and families of Chicago Public Schools at this critical time is an immense privilege, and I am grateful to be returning to the CPS family,” said Dr. Torres. “I’m honored that Mayor Lightfoot and the Board of Education have put their faith in me, and I’m eager to begin helping our schools recover from this incredibly challenging year.”

“Dr. Torres is a proven leader with a deep commitment to CPS students, and we are pleased to welcome him back during this crucial time for our schools,” said President del Valle. “Dr. Torres has the experience and knowledge necessary to help the district heal and progress following the pandemic, and we are grateful that he has agreed to lead our district while the search for a permanent CEO moves forward.”

“Leaving CPS was never going to be easy, but it’s much easier knowing that an experienced, thoughtful leader like Dr. Torres will be serving as Interim CEO in the months ahead,” said CEO Jackson. “Dr. Torres shares our vision for promoting equity and understands what our students and staff need to thrive. I wish him a successful tenure as our next leader.” 

Pending approval from the Chicago Board of Education at its meeting on June 23, Dr. Torres will begin serving as interim CEO on July 1, 2021. Dr. Torres will serve as CEO on an interim basis as the Chicago Board of Education and Mayor Lightfoot continue to engage stakeholders and search for a permanent replacement.  

Dr. Torres’ Career Highlights

Dr. Torres has decades of experience working in educational leadership positions serving diverse populations of students and communities across the country. 

Career highlights include: 

— President — Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

— Superintendent of Schools  — Elgin School District, U-46

— Regional Superintendent (Area Instruction Officer)  — Chicago Public Schools

— Assistant Superintendent for Student Services — Anne Arundel County Public Schools

— Superintendent, San Ysidro School District

— Associate Superintendent for Instructional Services — San José Unified School District

— Middle School Teacher and Human Relations Specialist — Montgomery County Public Schools

Dr. Torres received his Bachelor of General Studies, Master of Education, and PhD in Education Policy, Planning and Administration from the University of Maryland, College Park. 

Interim Chief Education Officer and Chief Operating Officer

In addition to announcing the interim CEO appointment, CPS also announced that Dr. Maurice Swinney will serve as the Interim Chief Education Officer and Lindy McGuire will serve as Interim Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Swinney will transition into his new role following the departure of Dr. LaTanya D. McDade at the end of this week, and Ms. McGuire is currently serving in her new role, following the departure of Arnie Rivera in recent weeks.

Information on the CEO Search Process

Dr. Torres will serve as interim CEO until a new, permanent CEO has been selected and identified. In May 2021, the Chicago Board of Education and Mayor Lightfoot announced an unprecedented community engagement process to inform the district’s search for a permanent CEO. These efforts, which have been underway for several weeks, include focus groups, a city-wide survey and bi-weekly public updates. For more information on the CEO search process, please visit the district’s CEO Search webpage

Chicago Public Schools serves 341,000 students in 638 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.