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Center for Effective Government, Chicago Public Schools Announce Executive Leadership Seminar Series, First Cohort of CPS Staff Participants

Published: Apr 14 2023


Multi-year Partnership, Supported by Crown Family Philanthropies, Brings World-Class Executive Education from University of Chicago to Senior CPS Staff 

CHICAGO, IL — The University of Chicago Center for Effective Government (CEG) today welcomes a cohort of 21 senior leaders from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to the University’s Harris School of Public Policy for the first session of its inaugural Executive Leadership Seminar Series—an innovative new partnership between CEG and CPS that provides immersive, multi-disciplinary leadership training to senior-level staff at CPS.

The Seminar Series, which is comprised of four day-long sessions held over six weeks, seeks to develop skills for CPS staff to lead their departments, other leaders, and the organization as a whole. Participants will engage in sessions beginning today on topics of leadership capacity, negotiation, persuasion, resilience, communication, and more, taught by leading University of Chicago faculty and experienced practitioners from the field. 

“Thoughtful, capable leadership is an essential element of effective governance at every level, from international organizations to local agencies,” said Sadia Sindhu, executive director of the Center for Effective Government. “We are so eager to embark on this partnership with CPS to bring world-class faculty and a rich curriculum to this first cohort of senior leaders, and to deepen our investment in Chicago’s civic infrastructure.”

The Seminar Series was designed by CEG specifically for Chicago Public Schools, and builds on the success of the Civic Leadership Academy, CEG’s flagship leadership development and training program for local government and non-profit leaders. The Academy, now in its ninth year, boasts more than 250 fellows and alumni who hold key leadership positions across Chicago and Cook County’s civic sector.

Through this partnership, both CEG and CPS hope to emphasize the importance of investing in a diverse group of high-quality leaders, and the potential for such an investment to make a direct impact on students and families in Chicago.

"We are excited to partner with the Center for Effective Government to further develop and empower our senior leadership team,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “As one of the nation’s largest school districts, it is our responsibility to seek out new strategies to support our schools and our students. This partnership will empower our senior leaders with tools to strategically, thoughtfully, and effectively accomplish the District’s mission of providing a high-quality education to every student in every neighborhood.”

Members of the inaugural cohort were selected by Chicago Public Schools for the Seminar Series from a wide range of eligible employees across CPS departments and functions who applied to participate. As part of the multi-year partnership, CEG will host the Series each of the next three years, for new cohorts of CPS staff each year. Thanks to a grant from Crown Family Philanthropies to Children First Fund,the Chicago Public Schools Foundation, the three-year program is fully funded at no cost to CPS, CEG, or individual participants.

“It’s an honor to be selected as a participant for the inaugural Executive Leadership Seminar Series alongside so many impressive CPS leaders,” said Series cohort member Gabriela Brizuela, Deputy General Counsel for the Chicago Board of Education Law Department. “Continual learning and development are at the bedrock of our work at Chicago Public Schools, and I’m eager to take part in an innovative program that will further our mission of providing high-quality public education for every child.”

The 2023 staff cohort of the CPS Executive Leadership Seminar Series includes:

  • Gabriela Brizuela, Deputy General Counsel, Chicago Board of Education Law Department

  • Elizabeth Mendoza Browne, Deputy Chief Title IX Officer

  • Tarrah DeClemente, Executive Director, Office of Student Health and Wellness

  • Venny Dye, Executive Director, Capital Planning and Construction

  • Latasha Geverola, Deputy Chief, Network 3 Schools

  • TaShunda Green, Deputy Chief Health Officer

  • Patricia Harper Reynolds, Deputy Chief, Network 9 Schools

  • Michael Herring, Executive Director, Educator Effectiveness

  • Teena Lorie Harris, Executive Director, Office of Business Diversity

  • Shannon Heston, Executive Director, Enterprise Transformation

  • Sara Kempner, Executive Director, Enterprise Data Strategy

  • Sara McPhee, Executive Director, Access and Enrollment

  • Elizabeth Meyers, Executive Director, Instructional Systems and Supports

  • Seth Rau, Senior Advisor to the CEO

  • Armando Rodriguez, Deputy Chief, Office of College and Career Success

  • Angela Shahjahan, Executive Director, Compensation and Organizational Design

  • Michael Sitkowski, Deputy Chief, Office of Budget and Grants Management

  • Stacy Stewart, Deputy Chief, Network 13 Schools

  • Jerry Taylor, Executive Director, Human Resources Operations

  • Allison Tingwall, Executive Director, Principal Quality

  • Wayne Williams, Executive Director, Office of Diverse Learner Support and Services Operations

About the Center for Effective Government (CEG)

The University of Chicago Center for Effective Government was founded in 2019 to help solve the problems of government ineffectiveness with a multi-faceted theory of action. The Center organizes its work and activities, and builds bridges between its stakeholders—scholars, students, practitioners, leaders, journalists, and advocates—around three key areas: ideas, education, and engagement. Through robust, innovative programming, the Center works to strengthen institutions of democracy and improve government’s capacity to solve public problems.

About Chicago Public Schools (CPS)

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is dedicated to providing a high-quality education to all students, beginning with the District’s free full-day preschool programming for four-year-old scholars and continuing through neighborhood, magnet and selective-enrollment elementary schools that provide a rigorous K-8 education with schools that specialize in the fine arts, world language and culture, dual language, STEM, International Baccalaureate (IB), classical programs, and more. The rising District-wide freshmen-on-track and high school graduation rates reflect the hard work of the CPS community, including families, staff, and students across 635 schools. CPS celebrates the diversity of its more than 322,000 students who cite 182 home languages. Learn more about CPS at and connect with CPS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.