The Chicago Principal Partnership Launches to Help Ensure Every Public School in Chicago is Led By a Strong Principal 

New Partnership is a Joint Effort by CPS and the Chicago Public Education Fund to Support Principal Quality Initiatives and Recruit High Quality School Leaders

Thursday, November 3, 2016                                               

For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
Phone: 773-553-1620 

CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced the launch of The Chicago Principal Partnership, a new city-wide effort that aims to ensure that every public school in Chicago is led by a strong principal.

Supported by Chicago Public Schools and The Chicago Public Education Fund, The Partnership was launched in response to a recommendation by the Principal Quality Working Group (PQWG) earlier this year to create a new effort to support all stakeholders in accelerating and improving principal quality. The Principal Quality Working Group was formed in August 2015 by CPS CEO Claypool and Chief Education Officer Jackson as one of their first initiatives.

“Strong principals are absolutely critical to driving student success, and we’re very excited that members of The Chicago Principal Partnership will work together to help attract, develop, support and keep strong leaders in the public schools that need them the most,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Through our discussions with principals, LSCs, stakeholders and community leaders, we identified a need for a collaborative effort to develop principal capacity, and we are energized by the potential of this new initiative to support principals and identify high quality leaders for CPS schools.”

Following the recommendation by the PQWG to develop The Partnership, stakeholders and partners were interviewed to help identify a clear set of near-term priorities and long-term aspirations to guide The Partnership’s work. The Partnership’s initial course of action focuses on two immediate goals identified by the PQWG: launching a new website to help match high quality principal candidates with schools seeking new leaders and improving data sharing with stakeholders to guide their work on principal quality initiatives.

To improve the ability for schools seeking principals and principal candidates to identify each other, the Partnership created a first-ever website in Chicago that will seek to develop a comprehensive hiring portal that provides candidates and schools with a clear picture of available candidates and opportunities. Until this point, there has been no central hiring portal that allows both candidates and hiring managers to quickly and thoroughly identify each other. Through the Partnership’s new website,, the Partnership will work to build a more transparent hiring pool that will help schools more quickly and effectively identify high-quality candidates while allowing candidates to evaluate all potential options to make a difference in Chicago. In the long-term, The Partnership will coordinate with partners to house resources for programming and professional development for principals on

The PQWG also highlighted the need for more comprehensive data sharing and reporting with stakeholders invested in principal quality issues, and The Partnership’s initial efforts will work to address this need. By improving the flow of information to external partners working on principal recruitment, retainment and quality, The Partnership will help stakeholders make more informed decisions that allow them to strengthen their efforts.                                                 

Members of The Partnership include principals, nonprofit organizations, philanthropic partners, universities, parents, and community members. The Partnership will be led by a diverse group of members who will participate in one of three groups to guide The Partnership’s work.

The Partnership’s Advisory Committee will set The Partnership’s priorities and consists of the following leaders from a diverse set of stakeholders, in addition to two revolving seats reserved for funders of The Partnership:

  • Andrew Broy, President of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools
  • Gillian Darlow, CEO of the Polk Bros. Foundation
  • Christopher Goins, Principal of Butler College Prep
  • Dr. Janice K. Jackson, CPS Chief Education Officer
  • Cynthia Miller, Fiske Elementary Principal and Vice President of Elementary Schools for the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association
  • Sara Ray Stoelinga, Sara Liston Spurlark Director at the Urban Education Institute
  • Ricardo Trujillo, Monroe Elementary Principal

The Partnership is also establishing a Partners Council to provide input on key topics and advocate for the importance of principal quality in public schools. Member organizations of the Partners Council include:

  • Chicago Principals & Administrators Association
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Chicago State University
  • CME Group Foundation
  • Crown Family Philanthropies
  • DePaul University
  • Dominican University
  • Finnegan Family Foundation
  • Illinois Network of Charter Schools
  • Joyce Foundation
  • Loyola University
  • National Louis University
  • New Leaders
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Polk Bros. Foundation
  • Teach for America
  • The Chicago Public Education Fund
  • The Noble Network of Charter Schools
  • The Urban Education Institute
  •  University of Illinois at Chicago

Next year, The Partnership will also establish its Champions Council, which will lend visibility to The Partnership’s mission and help elevate the importance of strong principals in every public school.

The Partnership will supplement recent investments the city has made in principal leadership programs that seek to empower and retain existing high-quality principals while recruiting new high quality candidates to the District. In School Year 2015-2016, Mayor Emanuel and CPS announced the first cohort of the District’s Independent Schools Principal (ISP) Program, which provides high-performing principals with the autonomy to operate their schools with reduced oversight from Central Office. Following the success of the initial ISP cohort, Mayor Emanuel and CPS announced an investment to double the size of the program this school year, bringing the total of ISPS to 54 principals that have earned the flexibility to innovate and drive student performance as they see fit.

Earlier this year, CPS and The Fund also announced an expansion of its Chicago Principal Fellows program, which currently provides 25 school leaders with 12 months of executive leadership development through a partnership with Northwestern University. By investing in high quality programming and opportunities for principal leadership, CPS and the City of Chicago are working to empower school leaders to build on the remarkable academic gains CPS schools have made in recent years.

Additional information on the work of The Chicago Principal Partnership can be found at

Chicago Public Schools serves 381,000 students in 652 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

Page Last Modified on Thursday, November 03, 2016