Janice Jackson moves into the executive suite at Chicago Public Schools at the end of this month on a high note. CPS is more stable financially than it has been in years and the district has earned praise from national and local researchers who say the city’s students are making remarkable progress on standardized tests.
After a string of non-educators and outsiders, Jackson is a homegrown star who grew up in a neighborhood of bungalows and three-flats on the South Side and attended public schools from preschool through high school. She has served as chief education officer since July 2015. The mayor, advocates, and even the cantankerous Chicago Teachers Union praise the 40-year-old CPS parent. Jackson comes in as acting CEO, but it’s expected she’ll be named the permanent chief.