Investing in Success: Hope Chicago and the Economic Power of Postsecondary Access and Support - City Club of Chicago

Investing in Success: Hope Chicago and the Economic Power of Postsecondary Access and Support

Dr. Janice K. Jackson

Monday, May 22, 2023

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Dr. Janice K. Jackson

Dr. Janice Jackson is a lifelong resident of Chicago. With over 22 years of experience working in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), she is a nationally-known and respected educator and leader in the field of public education. Her life’s work and commitment to public education and student outcomes began at a young age. After graduating from CPS and receiving her B.A. and M.A. from Chicago State University, she began her teaching career as a social studies teacher and debate team coach at South Shore High School. From there she went on to serve as a high school principal, District Network Chief, and Chief Education Officer all while completing an M.A. and Ed.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2017, she was appointed CEO of CPS by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. She was the first CPS alumna to serve in the position.

Jackson’s tenure at CPS—one of the nation’s largest school districts with more than 355,000 students, 38,000 employees, and an annual budget of $7 billion—is most notable for the results the district attained in advancing equitable outcomes for its students. In fact, Bill Gates noted the data-driven approach to student success developed under Jackson’s leadership was “a model for the nation.” Jackson’s efforts, along with those of Chicago’s dedicated teachers and principals, propelled CPS students to record-breaking improvements in academic achievement, high school graduation, and post-secondary completion. Education experts across the country regard Chicago as a national leader in improving results for young people at scale.

Upon leaving CPS after 22 years, Jackson joined the Carnegie Foundation as a Senior Fellow where she is focusing on equity issues, such as improving high school and college attainment nationwide and ensuring that African American, Latinx, and Indigenous students receive exemplary education and social and emotional support. She was also selected as a 2021 Resident Fellow for the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago.

In September 2021, Jackson became CEO of Hope Chicago, a new two-generation scholarship organization that will eliminate barriers to educational and economic equity by guaranteeing debt-free college and wraparound support services to Hope Scholars and their parents. Jackson brings dynamic leadership, deep knowledge of student need and circumstance, and a personal passion for transforming lives through education to this work. She is also a board member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center (CCAC) and A Better Chicago (ABC). Dr. Jackson is married with two children and resides on the southside of Chicago, in the Bronzeville community. 

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