Quinn Taps Chico for Illinois School Post - NBC Chicago
Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Quinn Taps Chico for Illinois School Post



    The former mayoral candidate will run the Illinois School Board for the governor. (Published Tuesday, June 7, 2011)

    Former mayoral contender Gery Chico rose from the ashes of a failed bid for Chicago's top job, to resume his run as a prolific, behind-the-scenes bureaucrat.

    Governor Pat Quinn Tuesday announced Chico as his next Chairman of  the Illinois State Board of Education.

    "He's a leader of distinction," Quinn said during a morning press conference, where he also promised to sign an education reform bill this week.

    Chico placed second in the February Chicago Mayoral elections, losing by a large margin to Rahm Emanuel.

    Quinn is said to have liked Chico's focus on early childhood eduction during the race, and wants him to help straighten out a moribund system, fraught with debt, union issues and budget deficits.

    Chico returned the sentiment, saying Quinn is the type of leader who "puts a focus on early education."

    The mayoral candidate should have no problem fitting into the government job. He's held plenty. Chico has been head of the Chicago Public Schools, Mayor Daley's Chief of Staff, head of the Chicago Parks Department, and others. During his first stint with CPD, under Paul Vallas in 1995, Chico was instrumental in rescuing a school system tagged as the worst in the nation.

    Chico will take over for outgoing chief Jesse Ruiz.