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Acting CEO Jackson Announces Key Additions to CPS Leadership Team

10 January 2018

Arnie Rivera will Step Down From the Board of Education to Become the District’s Chief Operating Officer; Top Appointments Include Three Former Teachers

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

CHICAGO - CPS Acting CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson today announced several key appointments to her leadership team, including a new Chief Operating Officer, Chief Education Officer, Chief of Staff and Budget Director. All of the individuals being recommended for these appointments have extensive experience working in Chicago Public Schools, and three of the four previously worked as classroom teachers.

“The team members announced today represent some of the most devoted, thoughtful and creative people I have had the privilege of working with, and their proven record of success in CPS will play a key role in the district’s mission of providing every student in every neighborhood with a high quality education,” said CPS Acting CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “I expect to announce additional key appointments in the near future as we work to assemble a team that will best support the incredible progress our schools are making.”

Chief Operating Officer (COO) – Arnie Rivera
With more than a decade of experience in Chicago’s public school system, Arnie Rivera is being recommended to serve as the district’s new Chief Operating Officer, which oversees all operational functions within CPS.

Rivera has served the district as a First Grade Teacher, Budget Director, Deputy Chief of Staff, Chief of Public Policy, and Member of the Chicago Board of Education. In addition, Rivera served on the teams that successfully negotiated the past two contracts with the Chicago Teachers Union. He is also the parent of a CPS student.

Rivera has extensive experience in policy settings outside of CPS, having served previously as Mayor Emanuel’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Education, the chief Operating Officer of the Chicago Public Education Fund, and most recently as the Senior Strategic Advisor for After School Matters.

Rivera offered his resignation from the Board of Education earlier today. His appointment is contingent upon approval from the Chicago Board of Education and the Illinois State Board of Education.

“Chicago Public Schools is a district on the rise and as a life-long public servant, I am honored to join this uniquely qualified team of educators and experts as we work to build upon CPS’ monumental financial, academic, and operational progress,” said Rivera. “Serving as a Member of Chicago’s Board of Education was a great honor, and I am eager to rejoin the district on a day-to-day basis as a member of Dr. Jackson’s team.”

“Board Member Rivera has provided exceptional service to Chicago schools as both a member of our Board and a district employee,” said Chicago Board of Education President Frank M. Clark. “Arnie’s contributions to the Board will be missed, but his sophisticated understanding of district operations and extensive experience leading key components of Chicago Public Schools makes him the right person to work alongside Dr. Jackson as the district’s Chief Operating Officer.”

“CPS is in good hands with Arnie Rivera, who knows what schools in Chicago need to be successful,” said Ald. Gilbert Villegas. “Arnie has worked in key roles throughout CPS and the City, and he has the right judgement and perspective to help move CPS forward.”

“Arnie possesses a unique breadth of experience in CPS and public education needed for the job,” said Carlos Azcoitia, Distinguished Professor of Practice at National Louis University. “His skill set and experience are a perfect match for Dr. Jackson's team, and his perspective as a former educator, central office staffer, Board member and nonprofit leader have prepared him to serve CPS well.”

Chief Education Officer – LaTanya McDade
LaTanya McDade, currently the CPS Chief of Teaching and Learning, is being appointed to serve as the district’s Chief Education Officer, which oversees all in-school and out-of-school educational programming for Chicago Public Schools.

As Chief of Teaching and Learning, McDade managed all core academic departments in the district and oversaw the design, implementation and evaluation of instructional programs and services for teachers and administrators. McDade has nearly 20 years experience in the Chicago Public School system, having previously served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and Network Chief.

“Throughout her many years of serving Chicago Public Schools, LaTanya has demonstrated a forward-looking vision and helped oversee tremendous academic growth among Chicago’s students,” said Ald. Michelle Harris. “I have no doubt that LaTanya will help build on the district’s tremendous progress to ensure the children of Chicago receive the best possible education.”

“LaTanya McDade is an ideal choice for Chief Education Officer for Chicago Public Schools,” said Steve Tozer, Director of the Center for Urban Education Leadership at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “She is an experienced and committed educator who understands that the heart of a successful school system is high-quality teaching and learning in each classroom. I'm betting that LaTanya and Dr. Jackson will take the district to yet another level of improvement.”

“As a native Chicagoan, educator and school leader, LaTanya knows our school system, and she understands how to support the unique academic needs of individual communities across the city,” said Ald. Matt O'Shea. “Everyone who knows LaTanya knows her commitment to improving opportunities for students, and she will be a crucial member of Dr. Jackson’s new team.”

“LaTanya is passionate about kids and understands deeply the work of teachers and principals,” said P.J. Karafiol, Principal of Lake View High School. “As a new principal, I've appreciated how responsive and thoughtful she is: always available, always ready to listen, and always looking for ways to make things work better for schools and the young people they serve. I'm excited to have her as my Chief Education Officer.”

Chief of Staff - Pedro Soto
With nearly two decades of operational, educational, and budgetary experience in Chicago Public Schools, Pedro Soto has been selected to serve as Dr. Jackson’s Chief of Staff. Soto most recently served the district as its Chief of School Operations, in which he oversaw the coordination and implementation of all educational departments and network offices to ensure alignment with district priorities. Soto’s experience includes nine years of experience leading budgetary and operational strategy at the district, making him an ideal candidate to ensure the uniform implementation of district policies across all levels.

Budget Director – Heather Wendell
Heather Wendell has been selected to serve as the district’s Budget Director in the Office of Finance. Wendell has more than 20 years of experience in education, most recently serving as Executive Director of the CPS Grants Office, where she successfully oversaw and coordinated more than $900 million in federal and state funds; she will continue to oversee the Grants Office as she takes leadership of the Budget Office, as well. Wendell’s experience includes the successful implementation of large scale projects in various roles at Chicago Public Schools, including Deputy Chief of Staff, Director of Special Projects, and Business Services Manager. Wendell began her career as a teacher and was a recipient of a Ball State University Educator Fellowship.

All appointments announced today will be brought to the Board of Education for approval.

Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.