CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today named Brenda Holmes, a former high school teacher and education policy expert, as his new deputy chief of staff for education.
“Education must continue to be our top priority, even when we’re facing the unprecedented fiscal challenges of today,” said Blagojevich. “I want people on my team who share my commitment to education and who want to do everything we can to pump resources into the classroom to make our public schools the best in the nation. Brenda Holmes knows Illinois schools. Her background and experience in fighting to make our education system stronger will make her a valuable member of my administration.”
As the first deputy chief of staff for education in Illinois history, Holmes will advise the Governor on education funding and policy issues, as well as work closely with teachers, administrators, legislators, and advocates to develop and promote the administration’s education agenda.
Holmes, who grew up in Charleston, Illinois, and now lives in Springfield, taught high school social studies at Pawnee Community Unit District 11 from 1969 to 1983. In addition to teaching, she helped develop and revise K-12 curriculum and coordinated in-service training workshops for Pawnee district educators.
After 13 years in the classroom, Holmes entered the Sangamon State University (now UIS) Legislative Staff Internship Program. She was selected to serve as an education policy analyst for the Senate Republican caucus. Upon completion of the program, she stayed on as the caucus’ legislative and education analyst until 1987.
Holmes left the legislative branch to work as a special assistant to the State Superintendent of Education. From 1997 to 2000, she served as the State Board of Education’s primary liaison with legislators, legislative staff, the governor’s office, other constitutional offices, and community groups.
Most recently, Holmes has worked as an education consultant and lobbyist, first for the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance, then on a contractual basis for various clients. She used her education experience and knowledge of the legislative process to advocate for school funding and policy initiatives.
Holmes, who will be paid $120,000, begins work immediately.