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Meet Rahm Emanuel’s Education Transition Team

Today Rahm Emanuel announced two of his transition teams, including his education team. Since the Chicago Public Schools, teacher contracts, charter schools, and school turnarounds will all be major issues for the new mayor, here’s a look at the people he’s appointed to help him.

Rahm Emanuel announced two of his transition committees today, education and government reinvention and budget. Since education promises to be a flashpoint of his administration (for reasons summarized by Progress Illinois here), I wanted to take a look at how Emanuel’s education transition team is constituted.

* Ellen Alberding - President of the Joyce Foundation, a big Chicago philanthropy with a broad mandate in schools, culture, and the environment being major subjects. According to a 2007 letter to the Tribune, she’s pro-charter school.

* Rev. Dr. Byron Brazier - Son of the late Arthur Brazier, who led the Apostolic Church of God and founded The Woodlawn Organization. Former chief information officer of the Chicago Housing Authority. He took over the helm of the church, which has long been well connected in Chicago politics, from his father. He’s also a co-chair of Emanuel’s transition team.

* Don Feinstein - Director of the Academy for Urban School Leadership. The AUSL is a non-profit specializing in school turnarounds and teacher training. WBEZ’s Linda Lutton talked to Feinstein about school turnarounds in 2010.

* Sharod Gordon - Has held a variety of positions with the TARGET Area Development Corporation, which was founded by Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins. Discussed school reform with Fox News Chicago last year.

* Zipporah Hightower - Principal of the “turnaround” Bethune School of Excellence, which Emanuel praised in a November editorial for Crain’s. It’s managed by AUSL.

* Liz Kirby - Principal of Kenwood Academy. She talked charter schools with Catalyst in 2005, when she took over at Kenwood; she’s a New Leaders for New Schools grad.

* Tim Knowles - Director of the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago. Here’s his case against teacher tenure from the Wall Street Journal. Co-author of “Promise and Peril: Charter Schools, Urban School Reform, and the Obama Administration” with Charles M. Payne, interim chief education officer for CPS under Terry Mazany.

* Michael Milkie - Co-founder of the Noble Street charter school (with wife Tonya); now runs seven charter schools, as described by Dennis Rodkin in a 2009 Chicago article on Chicago charter schools.

* Natalie Neris-Guereca - Teacher at Dr. Jorge Prieto Elementary School, 2008 Golden Apple award winner.

* John Price - Principal of Audubon Elementary School, and currently working on the creation of the public-private Audubon Entrepreneurial Academy, a high school that would be located in Gordon Tech (Gordon Tech rejected the proposal).

* Diana Rauner - Recently-named director of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, which specializes in early childhood education. Wife of Bruce Rauner of private equity fund GTCR Golder Rauner, whom Rahm Emanuel represented while working for Wasserstein Perella & Company.

* Celena Roldan - Director of Erie House and longtime social worker.

* Monica Sims - 5th grade teacher at the Renaissance 2010 school John J. Pershing, Fulbright winner.

* Elizabeth Swanson - Executive director of the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, ran the office of management and budget and was the director of after-school and community school programs for the Chicago Public Schools.


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