March 26, 2001

Chicago Public Schools & New Leaders for New Schools Announce Landmark Partnership to Recruit and Train New Principals

CHICAGO – Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico, New Leaders for New Schools, The Chicago Public Education Fund, and the Los Angeles-based Broad Foundation today announced plans for a groundbreaking new public-private partnership to recruit and train outstanding new leaders for the city’s public schools.

The new partnership – to be voted on by the Chicago Board of Education at its monthly meeting this Wednesday – will be an important element of Mayor Daley’s and the Board’s strategy to boost student achievement for students across the city. This effort will help Chicago face a looming crisis – mirrored in cities across the nation – of severe shortages of qualified new leaders to replace the wave of principals expected to retire in the next five years.

“The renewal of leadership is a priority for the Chicago Board of Education,” said Gery Chico. “A system as large as ours needs to think outside of the box to grow and train its future leaders.”

Chicago becomes the first of two major cities that will work this year with the national non-profit New Leaders for New Schools, an organization formed last year to help urban schools improve by attracting and preparing the next generation of outstanding new school principals. New Leaders for New Schools is a non-profit organization funded by a number of national private sector leaders and foundations, including The Broad Foundation; The Chicago Public Education Fund; New Schools Venture Fund, founded by Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr; Boston’s New Profit, Inc.; and others.

“This new partnership will provide important support to our efforts to improve Chicago’s public schools”, said Chico. “At a time when we know that effective schools are led by outstanding principals, we will create a model for the nation on how to attract and prepare outstanding new principals.”

To help launch the New Leaders for New Schools program, the Los Angeles-based Broad Foundation and The Chicago Public Education Fund today announced private sector commitments totaling more than $1.2 million to support New Leaders for New Schools in Chicago. “I applaud Chicago’s bold effort to attract and prepare a new generation of outstanding school leaders, said Broad Foundation founder Eli Broad. “I am pleased that our public-private partnership will create a model for the nation while helping to ensure that Chicago children can attend schools led by effective principals.”

“The Chicago Public Education Fund is proud to make the lead local investment to help New Leaders for New Schools open its doors in Chicago,” said Fund President Janet Knupp. “New Leaders is an example of our role as Chicago Public Schools’ investment partner to seed new ideas. Through our significant investment of capital and management assistance, we are confident that New Leaders will have long term impact on the quality of principals in our city’s schools.”

The Broad Foundation grant includes matching funds providing a dollar-for-dollar match for local contributions from businesses and foundations to help sponsor individual fellowships for candidates selected into the Chicago program. Candidates will get an average fellowship of $36,000, half provided by The Broad Foundation and half provided by local contributions. Broad said “I am hoping that our challenge grant will stimulate additional investments by Chicago business and community leaders to encourage and support talented people to become outstanding principals of local schools.”

The Chicago Public Education Fund will be the lead Chicago funder of this initiative. The Fund’s $600,000 commitment is the fund’s largest grant ever – signaling its support for grooming new leadership for Chicago’s public schools.

Today’s announcement also represents a landmark move by a public school district to create a public-private partnership to recruit and train principals through a tuition-free program and a paid year-long residency preparing outstanding future school leaders. In the first year, this urban principals corps will include outstanding educators in Chicago with demonstrated leadership ability, outstanding educators from across the country who will relocate to Chicago to enroll in this program and become school leaders in Chicago, and exceptional leaders from the for-profit and non-profit sector with previous teaching experience.

“One of our nation’s great challenges is how to provide every child with the opportunity to meet high standards and get an outstanding education”, said New Leaders for New Schools CEO and co-founder Jon Schnur. “To achieve that challenge, we must work together to attract and prepare a new generation of outstanding new principals to lead our urban schools.”

At a press conference, Chico and Schnur outlined the details of the initiative, which will work to recruit, train and place, and support as many as 10 new leaders during its initial pilot year and double the size next year. While the first phase of the training program will target outstanding teachers as well as leaders from outside of education with previous teaching experience, New Leaders will in the future explore attracting and preparing extraordinary leaders from the business and nonprofit sectors to play leadership roles in urban schools.