Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has named four new members of the Chicago Board of Education. The new members will replace outgoing members Andra Zopp, who is running for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, Carlos Azcoitia, Henry Bienen, and Deborah Quazzo, all of whom will see their terms expire at the end of this month.
Those who have been tapped by Emanuel to join the board for a four-year term are Gail Ward, Rev. Michael Garanzini, Dominique Jordan Turner and Mark Furlong.
"Thanks to the hard work of our students, principals, teachers, parents, and community leaders, we have seen significant educational strides at CPS but there is still more work to do," Emanuel said in a statement. "These new board members will bring valuable experience to their new roles that will help us build on our progress and address our challenges to ensure that every child in every community has the education they need for the bright future they deserve. I also want to thank Carlos, Henry, Deb and Andy, each of whom has volunteered their time to benefit Chicago's students. Through their service, children throughout Chicago have greater educational opportunities and the chance for a brighter future."
Here's more on each of the soon-to-be new board members, courtesy of the mayor's office:
Mark Furlong is the retired CEO of BMO Harris Bank, N.A. and the former CEO of Marshall & Ilsley Bank. He has long been committed to community service and is a member of the Trustees Committee of the Chicago Community Trust and Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago. He currently serves as a chair of Chicago United, which promotes diversity in business leadership.
Reverend Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., is a seasoned university administrator, tenured professor, author, and scholar who has spent the majority of his career working in higher education. Since 2001, he has served as the president of Loyola University Chicago, and though he is stepping down from that position at the end of June he will continue to serve in an advisory capacity to advance strategic projects for Loyola. He also brings a wealth of experience in teaching, research, service, and administrative leadership at some of the nation's leading Jesuit institutions of higher learning, including Georgetown, Fordham, Saint Louis, and Rockhurst universities, as well as Gregorian University in Rome.
Dominique Jordan Turner brings a background in urban education and high school strategy. Turner is currently the President and CEO of Chicago Scholars Foundation, which provides underserved high school students access to quality educational opportunities. She has previously served as the Chicago Director of the Posse Foundation, a college access and youth development organization, and as Regional Director of Network Growth for the KIPP Foundation. Fluent in Spanish and dedicated to public service, she was also a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Panama.
Gail Ward worked in the CPS system for more than 35 years as a teacher, counselor, elementary school principal and as the first principal of Walter Payton College Prep High School. She also served as CPS's Chief Officer in the Office of Principal Preparation and Development. The recipient of numerous awards, Ward has worked with cultural institutions to create national and international parent and student partnership projects.
The new members are set to be in place by the July board meeting.
UPDATE 1 (6:33 p.m.): The Grassroots Education Movement released the following statement in response to mayor's picks for the board of ed:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's four Board of Education appointees reveal that the new Rahm touted during his re-election campaign is simply the same Rahm that refuses to listen to parents and community groups. Educators, parents, and advocates of the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM) demand the mayor set a timetable for the implementation of an Elected Representative School Board.
Voters overwhelmingly said yes to an elected school board with 89% in support while the mayor failed to avoid a runoff. His announcement came overnight and included no community involvement. His choice to replace an investment banker, a former principal, a former university president, and a former corporate executive with a banker, a former selective enrollment principal, a former university president, and charter school advocate is not the change voters have demanded.
The three remaining board members unanimously approved a no-bid SUPES contract that forced CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to resign amid a federal investigation. They have supported toxic swaps deals with big banks costing CPS $500 million, privatized school cleaning services, and closed 50 neighborhood schools.
Emanuel's appointees strongly suggests he will continue the failed policies of unaccountable charter school expansion, closure of neighborhood schools, and growth of the burdensome standardized testing.
The GEM coalition knows that only a school board that is democratically elected and fights for equitable investment among our neighborhood schools can win the trust of Chicago. The mayor should prove he is a changed man that listens to the people of Chicago and begin working with us to implement an elected representative school board.
Also included is a copy of the letter GEM sent to Mayor Rahm Emanuel requesting a meeting to discuss the implementation of an elected representative school board. The Grassroots Education Movement (GEM) is a coalition of over 30 community groups in Chicago committed to democratic principles in the governance, pedagogy, and culture of our public schools.