Formerly a school psychologist, Markay Winston came to CPS from the Cincinnati Public Schools, where her most recent role was that of Director for Student Support – a position that encompassed special education, nursing services, school-based mental health, English language learners, and homeless education. Markay joined the Chicago Public Schools in September 2012, where she works to ensure that all students who need them are receiving the proper supports and services from the District.
As Chief Officer for Special Education, Markay is responsible for ensuring that all of CPS’ approximately 54,000 diverse learners receive the specially-designed instruction and related support that they need and deserve. She considers it her mission to be a strong and vocal advocate for these students so that they can reach their full potential without being dismissed or underestimated.
Q. What is the biggest charge and challenge in the work you are leading at CPS?
A. The biggest challenge is to make sure that all of our diverse learners are receiving the services and supports we are required to provide for them, and that we are supporting our principals and teachers to help them make that happen.
Q. How would you want to be remembered for your work at CPS?
A. As someone who made a difference and made the lives of children infinitely better than they would have been had I not been here.
Q. Who has been the biggest influence on your life and your decision to work as an educator?
A. My mom. She was a very giving person who taught me compassion, commitment, and civic responsibility.
Q. What are you passionate about personally?
A. My family. I’m one of seven children – I have three brothers and three sisters. I’m right in the middle age-wise, so I’m the prototypical middle child – always the peacemaker in my family.
Q. Ever played an instrument?
A. When I was a child, I played the violin. My late mom played as well, so that music reminds me of her. I’m hoping to begin taking lessons again soon.
- Favorite Sports Team: Green Bay Packers
- Favorite Movie: Brown Sugar
- Hometown: Ottumwa, Iowa
- Favorite Travel Spot: The Caribbean
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