Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tapped a familiar name as her new head of the Chicago Board of Education, announcing former state Sen. Miguel del Valle as her pick for the position on Monday.
"The strength of our schools lies in their diversity, which is why we've announced a new board with strong representation to reflect the diverse voices of the students, families, teachers and staff of who they serve," Lightfoot said in an emailed statement announcing her selection of del Valle and six other members of the board.
Del Valle was the first Latino elected to the Illinois Senate, where he served from 1987 to 2006. He then served as City Clerk of Chicago until he unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2011. He is a CPS graduate and the former vice chair of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.
Del Valle endorsed Lightfoot's run for mayor on March 26, ahead of the runoff election, saying in a video posted to her Facebook page that he saw "an opportunity for dramatic change in the city of Chicago" with her candidacy.
Lightfoot campaigned in part on changing CPS' leadership structure to a fully elected school board, but publicly rejected a bill in the legislature to create a board with 21 elected members, rather than the current seven. She reiterated her campaign promise to shift to an elected board in announcing her appointees, saying the new members would serve as the city "continues to work towards a fully independent, elected school board."
The six other board members Lightfoot chose to serve with del Valle included: Vice President Sendhil Revuluri, a CPS local school council (LSC) member who previously worked in the district's Office of High School Teaching & Learning; Dwayne Truss, a CPS graduate and LSC member who most recently ran for 29th Ward alderman; Elizabeth Todd-Breland, a CPS parent, LSC member and assistant professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Lucino Sotelo, a CPS alum and parent who has previously been a board member for City Year Chicago; Luisiana Meléndez, an associate clinical professor at Erikson Institute; and Amy Rome, a former principal of the National Teachers Academy who has worked for the district for more than 20 years.
Lightfoot also announced that Dr. Sybil Madison would join her administration as deputy mayor for education and human services. Madison is a research associate and lecturer at Northwestern University and directs Chicago City of Learning.
"I want to thank our new board members who through their expertise and experience as teachers, administrators, parents, and proud CPS graduates, will ensure all students in all parts of the city have access to high-quality education," Lightfoot's statement Monday ended.
The appointments came as the Chicago Teachers Union contract is set to expire.