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Chicago Public Schools Fills Key District Roles with Dedicated Leaders

23 March 2022

Promotions to New Roles Shared Wednesday during Board of Education Meeting 

CPS Office of Communications

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As Chicago Public Schools (CPS) continues to serve more than 330,000 students this school year, the District announced Wednesday that some of its current leaders are stepping into top administrator roles. All are dedicated CPS professionals who have been promoted from within the District to take on new challenges and responsibilities.  Three of these cabinet-level administrators are proud CPS graduates and two are parents of CPS students/graduates.

“I am grateful to work with each of these leaders,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “They bring their own energy, passion, great skills, and experience to these roles. Most importantly, I know that they will keep a laser-sharp focus on meeting students’ needs as we emerge from this pandemic and re-focus our efforts on ensuring high-quality classroom instruction and experiences this year and beyond.”

The new leadership team members include:

  • Crystal Cooper, Interim Chief Operating Officer, from Chief of Staff
  • Felicia Sanders, Chief of Schools, from Deputy Chief of Schools

  • Charles Mayfield, Chief Procurement Officer, from Interim Chief Procurement Officer

  • Megan Hougard, Chief of College and Career Success, from Chief of Schools for Network 16

  • Lauro Roman, Acting Chief of Staff, from Deputy Chief of Staff

Cooper will fill the role vacated by Lindy McGuire, who left the District for a position in the private sector, and Sanders steps into the role that was previously held by Chief Education Officer Bogdana Chkoumbova.

Below are the biographies for the leaders announced during today’s Board of Education meeting.

FELICIA SANDERS, Chief Schools Officer

As Chief Schools Officer, Felicia Sanders is responsible for ensuring strong school performance across the District by leading its 17 school networks and its Independent Schools Principals (ISP).

The role is a natural transition from her previous position as Deputy Chief of Elementary Schools, where she focused on supporting network chiefs and principals to assist schools in attaining their achievement goals. A proud CPS graduate and parent, Sanders has also served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, deputy chief, and the Chief of Network 9 in her 30-year career with the District. As a principal, her school consistently showed strong academic growth through her focus on community partnerships and social-emotional learning.

Sanders completed her undergraduate studies at Northern Illinois University and holds a master's degree in educational administration from Chicago State University. Additionally, she received her superintendent license and training at the University of Illinois Chicago.

MEGAN HOUGARD, Chief of College and Career Success

As the Chief of College and Career Success, Megan Hougard helps ensure that CPS provides students with the support, services and programming to support their future after high school graduation. By focusing on investments in multiple college preparatory and career pathways, she envisions students from every neighborhood in Chicago being able to pursue post-secondary education and fulfilling careers that reflect their passions.

Prior to this role, Hougard served as the Chief of Schools for Network 16, where she oversaw the growth and day-to-day operations of 17 high schools on Chicago’s South and Southwest Sides. She also has experience as a teacher and high school administrator and is a proud parent of two CPS graduates.

Hougard holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans, a master’s degree in educational leadership from National Louis University, and is completing her doctorate in education policy, organization and leadership at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

CHARLES MAYFIELD, Chief Procurement Officer

As Chief Procurement Officer, Charles Mayfield is responsible for providing the highest quality and value of goods and services for the District. With more than 10 years of experience in procurement, budget, and management, he oversees vendor management services to schools and Central Office locations to ensure the District’s procurement practices are aligned with CPS mission and values. This includes a focus on business diversity.

Prior to this role, Mayfield served as the Executive Director of Procurement where he was a strategic leader in the launch of the Keep Improving District Services (KIDS) initiative—a partnership between CPS schools, departments, and vendors that aims to continuously improve vendor performance through innovative services, increased equity participation, elimination of waste, and value-add philanthropic support.

A graduate of CPS, Mayfield is an Air Force veteran and earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master of business administration from Southern Illinois University.

CRYSTAL COOPER, Interim Chief Operating Officer

As Interim Chief Operating Officer, Crystal Cooper partners closely with the CEO and other District leaders to ensure that the District’s priorities and core values are reflected through the resources and services CPS provides to students, staff, and families.

Prior to this role, she served as the District’s Chief of Staff during the critical transition period of administrations. Before that, Cooper was the District’s Executive Director of Nutrition Support Services, overseeing 2,700 lunchroom employees with a $210 million annual budget. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she ensured that all students had access to breakfasts and lunches while they learned from home through the CPS Grab-and-Go meal sites.

Cooper is a lifelong Chicagoan and a graduate of Chicago Public Schools. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master of business administration from DePaul University.

LAURO ROMAN, Acting Chief of Staff

Lauro Roman has been appointed the District’s Acting Chief of Staff. Prior to this role, he served as the District’s Deputy Chief of Staff during the transition of administrations and under CEO Martinez.

Roman also served as CPS’ Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, where he managed the District’s collaborative partnerships with local elected leaders while leading the development and execution of legislation and municipal ordinances that affect CPS schools and students.

Before CPS, Roman served in a variety of government relations roles in the public and non-profit sectors. Roman holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from DePaul University.