Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools
Pedro Martinez

since September 29, 2021[1]
Inaugural holderJohn Clark Dore (as "Superintendent")
Formation1854 (as "Superintendent")

Chicago Public Schools is headed by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) appointed by the mayor of Chicago. Currently serving as CEO is Pedro Martinez. This job is equivalent to a superintendent, and, before 1995, the occupant of this office was known as the "superintendent of Chicago Public Schools".


The position of chief executive officer was preceded by one of "Superintendent".[2] The first individual to hold this position had been John Clark Dore, who assumed the position in 1854.[2][3] In 1855, the authority to remove the Superintendent was given to the Board of School Inspectors by the same ordinance which created the city's first high school, meaning the Chicago Common Council (today known as the "Chicago City Council") no longer held this authority.[3]

The role of Superintendent, when established, did not have well defined duties.[3] The office was originally subordinate to the Board of School Inspectors, and later the Chicago Board of Education (which supplanted the Board of School Inspectors in 1857).[3] Its powers were limited.[3] The role was, in part, shaped by its officeholders over the years.[3] Since the ordinance which established the office did not require administrative authority to be given to the superintendent, there was no clear delineation of policymaking and administrative roles between the superintendent and the school board.[3]

In practice, a stronger superintendency was developed, beginning under Edwin G. Cooley's tenure.[3] However, it was not until the 1917 Otis Bill that the superintendency was granted exclusive administrative power over schools.[3]

In 1995, the Government of Illinois passed the Chicago School Reform Amendatory Act, which replaced the position of superintendent with that of chief executive officer.[2] The first individual to serve under the title of CEO was Paul Vallas.[2]


Superintendents of Chicago Public Schools

The following is a table listing the individuals that held the position of "superintendent of Chicago Public Schools" from its creation in 1854 through its dissolution in 1995:

Ella Flagg Young (served 1909–1915); CPS' first female superintendent; first female public school superintendent in a major US city[4]
Ella Flagg Young (served 1909–1915); CPS' first female superintendent; first female public school superintendent in a major US city[4]

Name Tenure Citation
John Clark Dore 1854—1856 [2][5][6][7]
William Harvey Wells (1).jpg
William H. Wells 1856—1864 [6][5]
J. L. Pickard University of Iowa(cropped) (1).jpg
Josiah Little Pickard 1864—1877 [6][5]
Duane Doty 1877—1880 [6][5]
George C. Howland 1880—1891 [6][5]
Albert G. Lane (1).png
Albert G. Lane 1891—1898 [6][8][5]
Dr Elisha Benjamin Andrews (1).jpg
Elisha Benjamin Andrews 1898—1900 [6][9]
Edwin G. Cooley 1900—1909 [6]
Famous Living Americans - Ella Flagg Young (1).jpg
Ella Flagg Young 1909—1915 [6]
John Shoop 1915—1918 [6]
Charles E. Chadsey (3x4).png
Charles Ernest Chadsey 1919—1920 [6]
Peter A. Mortenson 1920—1924 [6]
William McAndrew circa 1925 Chicago Tribune (1).png
William McAndrew 1924—1928 [6][3][10]
William J. Bogan 1928—1936 [6][10]
William Johnson 1936—1946 [6][11]
George Cassell (acting) 1946–1947 [12]
Herold C. Hunt 1947—1953 [6]
Benjamin Willis 1953—1966 [6][13]
Thaddeus Lubera (interim) 1966 [14]
James F. Redmond 1966—1975 [6][13]
Joseph P. Hannon 1975—1979 [13]
Angeline Caruso (interim) 1979—1981 [6][13]
Ruth B. Love 1981—1985 [6][13]
Manford Byrd Jr. 1985—1989 [13]
Charles D. Almo (interim) 1989—1990 [13]
Ted Kimbrough 1990—1993 [13]
Richard E. Stephenson Jr. (interim) 1993 [15][16][17]
Argie Johnson 1993—1995 [18][19]

Chief Executive Officers of Chicago Public Schools

The following is a table listing the individuals that have held the position of "chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools" since it was created in 1995:

Name Tenure Citation
Paul Vallas 2018 (a).jpg
Paul Vallas 1995—2001 [2][20]
Arne Duncan official photo (3x4).jpg
Arne Duncan 2001—2009 [20]
Ron-Huberman-Harper-2009 (1).jpg
Ron Huberman 2009—2010 [20]
Terry Mazany (32501891150) (a).jpg
Terry Mazany (interim) 2010—2011 [20]
Jean-Claude Brizard 2011—2012 [20]
Barbara Byrd-Bennett 2012—2015 [20]
Jesse Ruiz 39701191921 (1).jpg
Jesse Ruiz (interim) 2015 [21][22]
Forrest Claypool (4013934875).jpg
Forrest Claypool 2015—2017
Janice K. Jackson 2017—2021
José Torres (interim) 2021 [23]
Pedro Martinez 2021–present [1]


  1. ^ a b "New Chicago Public Schools CEO, Chicago's top doctor address COVID safety protocols". ABC 7 Chicago. WLS-TV. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "History of Chicago Public Schools". Chicago Reporter. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tarvardian, Arthur Norman (1992). "Battle Over the Chicago Schools: The Superintendency of William Mcandrew". Loyola University Chicago. pp. 1, 13–16, 18–20, 22–23, 30–31, 40, 50–51, 220. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  4. ^ Stringer, Kate (March 6, 2018). "Meet Ella Flagg Young, First Female School Superintendent of a Major U.S. City — and Ed Reform's Forgotten Thought Leader". Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f History of Chicago, Illinois. v.2. Chicago and New York City: Munsell & co. pp. 89, 102–108.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t James, Michael. "The Chicago Board of Education Desegregation Policies and Practices [1975-1985]: A Historical Examination of the Administrations of Superintendents Dr. Joseph P. Hannon and Dr. Ruth Love". Loyola University Chicago. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Moses, John; Kirkland, Joseph (1895). History of Chicago, Illinois Volume 2. Munsell & Company. pp. 105–109.
  8. ^ Bright, Orville T. (December 1906). "Albert G. Lane (1841-1906)". The Elementary School Teacher. 7 (4): 177–181. doi:10.1086/453614. S2CID 143376356.
  9. ^ "E. Benjamin Andrews". History of Economic Thought. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Education: Superintendent in Chicago". Time. May 4, 1936.
  11. ^ Thompson, John (March 15, 1947). "N.C.A. Body Asks City Schools Be Discredited". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  12. ^ "N.C.A. ACCREDITS SCHOOLS, DROPS 15 MONTH THREAT". Chicago Tribune. June 29, 1947. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h "WHY THE LAST 8 SUPERINTENDENTS HAVE LEFT". Chicago Tribune. November 6, 1992. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  14. ^ "Interim Superintendent Named in Chicago". The Decatur Daily Review. The Associated Press. August 25, 1966. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  15. ^ Heard, Jacquelyn (February 2, 1993). "CITY SCHOOLS GO TO RANKS TO FIND AN INTERIM CHIEF". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  16. ^ Bryk, Anthony (2018). Charting Chicago School Reform: Democratic Localism As A Lever For Change. Routledge. p. 365. ISBN 978-0-429-97029-0. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  17. ^ "Richard E. Stephenson, Jr.'s Biography". The HistoryMakers. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  18. ^ Heard, Jacquelyn (August 7, 1994). "HER 1ST YEAR A LESSON FOR SCHOOLS CHIEF". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  19. ^ Gittell, Marilyn (1998). Strategies for School Equity: Creating Productive Schools in a Just Society. Yale University Press. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-300-14654-7. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  20. ^ a b c d e f "Graphic: Timeline of Chicago Public Schools CEOs". Chicago Tribune. June 2, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  21. ^ "Ruiz Takes Charge at CPS, Suspends SUPES Contract, Halts No-Bid Deals". DNAinfo Chicago. Archived from the original on June 4, 2020. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  22. ^ Spielman, Fran (February 18, 2019). "Rahm's agency heads could outlast him thanks to golden parachute contracts". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  23. ^ Koumpilova, Mila (June 30, 2021). "José Torres poised to start as interim Chicago schools CEO on an open-ended contract". Chalkbeat Chicago. Retrieved July 8, 2021.