Who He Is: Board of Education Vice President Jesse Ruiz graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Chicago Law School, so he knows a thing or two about Chicago schools. He also works as a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, where he specializes in mergers and acquisition law. In February he was selected by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to serve on the U.S. Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission. He has been on the Board of Directors of ComEd since October 2006. In September, 2004, Ruiz was appointed Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education; a post recently filled by mayoral candidate Gery Chico.
City Salary: Board of Education members are not paid for their service
Goals: Ruiz will seek to provide a view of the Chicago Public Schools system, from the perspective of the rest of the state. His experience with the Illinois Board of Education gives him a unique ideal for how to approach issues facing the city's schools. He will be able to show what works in other areas of the state in terms of improving graduation rates and test scores.
Challenges: Ruiz’s background in mergers and acquisitions will lead some to believe that he is inclined to cutting back and consolidating areas that perhaps cannot be consolidated without affecting the effectiveness Chicago Public Schools. His challenge will be to prove that this is not the case and that he is committed to finding every possible solution to the most difficult decisions facing the system.