CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot has named former City Clerk Miguel del Valle to head up the Chicago Board of Education, and also has appointed six other new members of the school board.
All seven previous members of the school board stepped down last month, just two days after Lightfoot took office, to give her the opportunity to fill the board with her own team. Lightfoot has supported proposals for an elected school board in Chicago, but that plan has not yet been approved by state lawmakers.
Monday morning, Lightfoot announced she was appointing del Valle, a Chicago Public Schools graduate who ran for mayor in 2011 after serving five years as city clerk and nearly 20 years as a state senator, as the new president of the Chicago Board of Education.
The other six board members include:
• Sendhil Revuluri, a former math teacher who is managing director of strategic investment at PEAK6 Capital Management. He also previously served as a parent member of the LSC at Suder Montessori Magnet Elementary School, and once worked at the CPS Office of High School Teaching and Learning.
• Dwayne Truss, a CPS graduate who recently ran against Ald. Chris Taliaferro in the 29th Ward, and is a member of the Columbus Park Advisory Council. He also once served as a board member at Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education and on the LSC for three CPS schools.
• Elizabeth Todd-Breland, an assistant professor of history at UIC, and a CPS parent who has served on the LSC at William Reavis Elementary School. She also wrote “A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago since the 1960s,” an analysis of the history behind the closing of 50 schools in Chicago in 2012.
• Lucino Sotelo, a CPS graduate and parent of two CPS students who works as chief marketing officer for KemperSports Management, and previously served on the board for City Year Chicago.
• Luisiana Melendez, a professor at Erikson Institute and director of the downtown graduate school’s bilingual program. She also worked nearly two decades as an early childhood and elementary school teacher in the Dominican Republic and U.S.
• Amy Rome, who worked more than 20 y ears as a CPS teacher, teacher leader, school leader, and principal supervisor. She also served as principal of the National Teachers Academy, and is the current president of Leading Educators, a teacher development program.
“The strength of our schools lies in their diversity, which is why we’ve announced a new board with strong representation to reflect the diverse voices of the students, families, teachers and staff of who they serve,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “I want to thank our new board members who through their expertise and experience as teachers, administrators, parents and proud CPS graduates, will ensure all students in all parts of the city have access to high-quality education.”
After introducing the new school board while meeting with students at the Lionel Hampton Fine and Performing Arts School in Ashburn, Lightfoot said she doesn’t want a rubber stamp board; she’s ready for tough talk.
“Nobody wants a rubber stamp. That undermines legitimacy. They are there to ask tough questions, to challenge us, to challenge [CPS Chief Executive Officer Janice] Jackson and her team; but all with an effort of focusing on what we can do to really improve the quality of the classroom experience,” she said.
The appointments must be confirmed by the Chicago City Council.