Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO, Janice Jackson announced her resignation today. In a letter to CPS families she said, “It’s time to pass the torch to new leadership”. Then Mayor Rahm Emmanuel appointed Janice Jackson to the role in 2018. Her appointment was herald as a step in the right direction. Jackson was seen as someone who understood the Chicago Public school system as a CPS Alum, teacher, administrator and CPS parent.
During her time as CEO, Janice Jackson navigated a teachers strike, ongoing battles with the Chicago Teachers Union and the challenges of educating students in the middle of a pandemic. Under her leadership student, test scores and graduation rates increased. The Chicago Teachers Union released a statement saying, “The next chief executive that Mayor Lori Lightfoot appoints must work with educators to implement the common good standards won in our contract, and as the city of Chicago awaits its sixth Chicago Public Schools CEO in the last 10 years, we will continue to meet and exceed expectations to enforce our agreements with CPS and return safely to school buildings in the fall…We wish CEO Janice Jackson, Chief Education Officer McDade and COO Rivera the best in their future endeavors, and look forward to a collegial and collaborative relationship with their successors as we continue our work toward creating the schools our students deserve.”
In her press conference, Janice Jackson did not indicate what her next role would be saying she was focusing on family. However, she admitted several factors went into her decision to resigning saying she was “both proud and humbled and a little bit tired”. Jackson said, “I’ve worked my entire life while going to school, being a mom, leading, etc. I do need a break, and so I’m going to take that break,”
Mayor Lightfoot praised Janice Jackson and her work with CPS saying, Dr. Jackson’s tenure illustrates that success isn’t the result of one program, or one initiative, but instead a holistic approach to education and youth development that ensures every single one of our students receives the rigor, love and support that they need, regardless of their circumstances or ZIP code, and regardless of what other challenges may arise on one second.”
Her contract ends June 30, 2021 and she has stated that she will continue to work on the CPS reopening plan. “Our collective focus will be on ensuring a successful and safe reopening of schools full time in the fall. This includes implementing our comprehensive plan to help our schools recover from the pandemic by addressing academic, social, and emotional needs and investing in supports that bring transformative change. It will be a down payment on the bright future and big things to come for CPS.
This is the third resignation from CPS executives. Chief Education Officer, LaTanya McDade and COO Arnie Rivera also announced their respective resignations.
Danielle Sanders is a writer and journalist living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSandersOfficial.