With her background in industrial psychology, Alicia has brought organizational effectiveness and a wealth of change management experience to the District’s Talent Office. Since joining CPS in 2009, she has worked to establish a professional, performance-based culture across all work environments, raising the quality of evaluation tools and creating progressive, constructive practices that better allow employees to grow in their careers.
As Chief Talent Officer, Alicia works to fill the vast and diverse human resource needs created by the District. From recruitment and selection to hiring, evaluation and advancement, she supports employees along each step of their journey with CPS. Her years of private sector experience, particularly high profile positions with Sears Holdings, Inc. and Coca-Cola Enterprises, prepared Alicia well for this role, as they gave her the expertise needed to create a healthy, profession work environment for all CPS employees.
Q. What enhancements have you made to the District’s Talent Office since joining CPS?
A. With the help of many partners, both internal and external, the Talent Office has made great strides in the past few years. In addition to implementing new evaluation systems for both teachers and principals, we’ve instituted policies that make it easier for employees to take care of their health and wellness needs. These include a short-term disability policy and a comprehensive employee wellness plan, both of which have led to a much healthier work culture. We’ve also removed punitive elements such as unpaid suspensions and are in the process of implementing a talent acquisition system to increase the number of qualified candidates to fill our needs.
Q. What are some of your goals for the Talent Office?
A. I’d like us to continue our focus on developing leadership within the District. Research shows that investing in strong leaders is critical to the success of our schools. That’s why, in addition to our new principal evaluation system, we’ve implemented initiatives that provide our current principals with executive coaching while creating programs that better develop and prepare our aspiring principals. In 2013, we also unveiled the Principal Achievement Awards, rewarding those principals whose schools have displayed the highest levels of student growth. These principals are from every type of school and represent every network in the District, which should make all of us proud.
Q. Is there a professional accomplishment of which you are particularly proud?
A. In 2005, I was working for Sears/K-Mart as Director of Human Resources for the nation’s South-Central region. Two weeks after I took the job, Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana, which was part of my territory. I became the point person for our company’s human resource response to the hurricane, which meant I was managing the careers of thousands of displaced people. We worked hard to support our employees through that difficult time. Any Sears/K-Mart employee who had been affected by Katrina could walk into one of our stores nationwide and be guaranteed a job. I was proud to be a part of that effort.
Q. What are you passionate about personally?
A. My son Lucas, 12, who is a joy. He loves baseball and tae kwon do, and is wise beyond his years. I’m also passionate about travel – I love Italy, London, New York and San Francisco, and next on my list are Spain and Argentina.
Q. How would you want to be remembered for your work at CPS?
A. As someone who began a journey that led CPS to a healthy, professional, performance-based work environment that supported the growth of all CPS employees.
- Hometown: Winner, South Dakota
- Favorite Type of Music: Jazz
- Most Prized Possession: A few pieces of artwork by Brigitte D’Annibale, a Hawaiian-inspired artist
- Favorite Artist: Jazz musician Al Jarreau
Back to Leadership