Top of Page

Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago Board of Education Launch Unprecedented Community Engagement Process for CPS Chief Executive Officer Selection

13 May 2021

City, Board of Ed to Hold 30 Focus Groups for More Than 300 stakeholders, Citywide Survey, and Launch Website as Part of Unprecedented Effort to Engage Stakeholders on the CPS CEO Selection Process

CPS Office of Communications

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

CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Board of Education (CBE) today announced the launch of an extensive stakeholder engagement process to help select a new Chief Executive Officer to lead Chicago Public Schools (CPS). To help identify the right candidate to continue CPS’s academic progress and address the needs created during the past year, the search process  will include 30 focus groups to deeply engage representatives with diverse perspectives, such as LSC members, parents, teachers, staff and community partners;  a district-wide survey to gather feedback from all stakeholders; and a dedicated webpage that will host community updates about the status of the CEO search. This effort will be the most inclusive CPS CEO search process conducted in recent history.

“As the executive search and stakeholder engagement process is underway, it is vital that we seek out and draw upon a diverse pool of perspectives to ensure that the next CPS CEO has a deep understanding of our successes and challenges as a district,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “By rooting the values of inclusivity and transparency within these processes, our school community will be able to have full confidence that there will not only be a smooth transition of power, but their vision for the future of CPS will be honored.”

“When I started as Board President, we made significant changes to increase transparency and community engagement, which remains a top priority for the Board and Mayor Lightfoot,” said Miguel del Valle, President of the Chicago Board of Education. “In order to ensure diverse stakeholders have a critical voice in this process, we are launching an unprecedented engagement effort to gather feedback and clearly identify the attributes and experience that will be held by our next CEO.”

As part of the process, the district has enlisted BWP & Associates to facilitate the selection process. Feedback from the stakeholder engagement effort will inform the leadership profile being designed by the firm, which will outline the traits and experiences that the ideal candidate will have. The feedback and engagement will center on what stakeholders would like to see in the next leader of Chicago Public Schools to help identify candidates that would be a good fit for the role. 

CPS to Host 30 Focus Groups and In-Depth Interviews to Deeply Engage Hundreds of Stakeholders Representing Different Perspectives

To help gather a deep understanding from a variety of perspectives, the district will host 30 focus groups to collect feedback from more than 300 stakeholders including parents, teachers, staff, LSC members, students and community partners. Focus groups will help ensure that a wide variety of CPS stakeholders can provide input on the ideal candidate to serve as the district's next CEO.

Interested stakeholders should submit an application starting today to be considered for participation in a focus group. The application will close on Tuesday, May 18th at 5pm. To ensure diverse representation, CPS will be selecting participants representing a wide variety of stakeholder groups, demographics, geographic regions, and with accommodations for Spanish-language participation.

In addition to focus group discussions, BWP & Associates — the firm selected to oversee the CEO search — will be interviewing key stakeholders and partners, including labor leaders, elected officials and CPS leaders to gain a deeper understanding of their priorities during the search process.

District-Wide & Public Stakeholder Survey to Collect Feedback from the Entire School Community

In addition to holding in-depth focus groups and interviews with stakeholders, the district will also launch a survey next week to gather feedback from stakeholders district-wide, as well as members of the public. The survey — which will be open to all individuals in Chicago — will be widely promoted once issued and available in multiple languages. 

CPS Launches New Web Page to Provide Transparent and Timely Updates on the Selection Process 

To ensure stakeholders have access to the latest information on the CEO search efforts, the district has launched a new dedicated webpage to provide transparency into the search process. The site, which can be found at, will be updated regularly to include biweekly reports from BWP & Associates on the status of the search process.

A timeline for CEO selection is included below: 



More Information: 

Community Engagement 

Mid May to Early June

BWP & Associates will conduct interviews, focus groups, and public surveys to ensure various stakeholder groups have a voice in the selection process. 

Application Window Opens

Mid-May to Mid-June

The job description will be posted and candidates will be able to apply for the position through June 18.

Initial Interviews 

Early to Late June

Prospective candidates will be screened on a rolling basis and initial interviews will be conducted by BWP & Associates.

Semifinalist Interviews

Early July 

A selection committee composed of Board members, CPS and City leaders, as well as a teacher, principal, and two parents will interview semifinalists. 

Finalist Interviews


Mayor Lightfoot and Board President del Valle will conduct final interviews and identify a recommendation for the district’s next CEO. 

Next CEO Selected

Late July

After an offer has been accepted, the district will announce its next CEO to the public. The final selection will require approval by the Board of Education.  

Additional Information about the CEO Selection Process

For the selection process, as outlined above, a selection committee consisting of Board members, CPS and City Leaders has been established to provide recommendations for finalists for the position to the Board and Mayor as outlined above. This is an expedited process with the intent of identifying the new CEO by the end of July. CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson’s contract concludes on June 30, and an interim will be named in the coming weeks to support the transition.

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