Chicago Public Schools
Janice Jackson

CEO of Chicago Public Schools announces resignation

May 3, 2021
Janice Jackson will leave her post at the nation's third-largest school district on June 30.

The CEO of the Chicago school district has announced that she is leaving the post after about three-and-a- half years.

Jackson has led Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the nation's third largest public school district, since December 2017. Prior to that, she had served as the district's chief education officer.

"While I feel there is still more work to be done in CPS, I also believe it is time to pass the torch to new leadership for the next chapter," Jackson wrote in a letter to the community. "Therefore, after careful deliberation, I have made the tough decision not to renew my contract as CEO, which expires on June 30, 2021."

Jackson's departure means that the three largest U.S. school districts have seen their top administrator quit in the last several weeks after leading their organization through the worst of the Covid-19 crisis. New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza resigned in March, and Los Angeles Unified School Superintendent Austin Beutner announced last month that he was quitting as of June 30.

Another top official in the Chicago district, Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade, announced in March that she was leaving that job to become superintendent of the Prince William County (Va.) school district.

Jackson became CEO of the school system after her predecessor, Forrest Claypool, resigned under fire; he had been accused of lying repeated in an ethics probe. She is a Chicago native and a graduate of the school system,. She worked her way up the ranks as a teacher, principal, and network chief.

In addition to the difficulties associated with operating schools in a pandemic, Jackson also led the district during a teachers strike in 2019  that forced cancellation of 11 school days.

Jackson's letter made no mention of her future plans.

"When I began this journey, I made a commitment to lead with integrity, courage, and excellence while bringing much needed stability to the district," she wrote. "I have delivered on that promise and will continue to advocate for the children of Chicago."

Jackson's letter:

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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