CHICAGO – June 7, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today named Gery Chico as the chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Today’s action is the latest in a series of appointments the Governor is making as he continues to fulfill his commitment to increasing efficiency and accountability in all areas of state government, fostering economic development and creating jobs today and in the future.
“Gery Chico’s decades of experience in education and administration will help keep our schools competitive and prepare our students to succeed in the global economy,” said Governor Quinn. “His leadership will be vital as Illinois prepares to implement ground-breaking education reform that we hope will become the model for the entire country.”
Chico previously served as president of the board of trustees for the Chicago Public Schools and chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago board. He is also a former chief of staff in the Chicago mayor’s office. Chico holds a juris doctorate from Loyola University Chicago and is active in numerous community organizations including the Chicago Urban League, After School Matters and the Illinois Education Foundation.
As President of the Chicago Public Schools, Chico led an effort that improved student performance and teacher confidence for six consecutive years, turned a projected deficit of $1.3 billion into a $345 million surplus, and invested money to build 65 new school facilities and renovate another 375 existing school structures.
Chico also pushed for extended school day programs that allowed over 125,000 students to get more time in the classroom. In addition, he oversaw the creation of afterschool and summer programs that provided nearly 200,000 students with constructive activities to prevent youth crime.
The Illinois State Board of Education is composed of nine members appointed by the Governor to serve four-year terms. The board sets educational policies and guidelines that benefit Illinois’ more than two million students attending for public and private schools, preschool through grade 12, as well as vocational education.