Dr. Janice Jackson is a member of the Chiefs for Change Board of Directors and chief in residence. She provides coaching, advising, and thought partnership to fellow members of our network and participants in our Future Chiefs leadership development program.

Jackson is the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the nation’s third-largest district, with more than 340,000 students, 45,000 employees, and an annual budget of $7 billion. A strategic and transformational leader, Jackson has more than 16 years of executive experience and a record of improving academic outcomes in urban school systems, designing new school models, and successfully managing organizational change. She has extensive expertise in change management; communications; crisis management; labor management and negotiations; risk management and mitigation; and K-12 talent acquisition, development, and retention.

In 2018, Jackson led the first-of-its-kind Enterprise Risk Management assessment for CPS, which prompted dramatic improvements in daily operations, audit reviews, public relations, and overall performance throughout the district. In addition, she is recognized as a major influencer in national and local education policy.  Jackson delivered compelling testimony on Capitol Hill about how gun violence and poverty negatively impact children’s ability to learn, and worked closely with state officials on the landmark Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act.

During her tenure with CPS, Jackson negotiated several contracts with multi-labor unions totaling approximately $2 billion. She created and implemented a progressive five-year strategic plan to achieve ambitious organizational goals. As CEO, she also led several major enterprise information system overhauls to ensure efficiency and increase productivity and accountability, while instituting best practices in cybersecurity. Before becoming a district administrator, Jackson founded and led two successful Chicago public high schools. Both schools exceeded district averages across multiple performance indicators. She was also a classroom teacher.

Jackson is a 2007 fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago. In addition to Chiefs for Change, she serves on the boards of numerous other nonprofits, including the Council of the Great City Schools; Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning; Junior Achievement; and Thrive Chicago. She earned a doctorate in education policy studies and educational leadership, and a master’s in leadership and administration, from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She also holds a master’s in education and a bachelor’s degree from Chicago State University.