As the President and CEO, Heather drives The Fund’s work to make Chicago the best city in America to lead a public school. She believes that leaders matter and has raised more than $45 million to support that belief. She is responsible for hiring, supporting and keeping the city’s most talented nonprofit team, and is proud of The Fund’s positive reputation for strong execution, belief in educators and excellence. She fosters The Fund’s existing partnerships with stakeholders, including educators, investors, Chicago Public Schools and City Hall. In 2018, Heather was awarded the Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership in recognition of The Fund’s contributions to improving Chicago’s public schools.
Heather came to The Fund from Teach For America, where she served as vice president for Career Leadership Initiatives for six years. In this role, she managed teams responsible for large-scale initiatives focused on building effective human capital pipelines into teacher leadership, principalship and social entrepreneurship. She built relationships with national organizations, top graduate schools, local school districts and foundations interested in designing leadership pathways for the thousands of Teach For America alumni who remain in classrooms, schools and districts nationwide.
Heather began her education career working on Chicago’s West Side. After completing her graduate school thesis on Umoja Student Development Corporation, a nonprofit school-community partnership based at Manley High School, she joined Teach For America and taught middle school social studies at Goldblatt Elementary School. She also worked in CPS’ Office of Planning and Development during the Arne Duncan administration. In this role, she worked across the central office and in schools on strategic planning – tying data to strategy and budgets and helping to link that work to outcomes for students.
Heather is a board member for Thrive Chicago, and serves on the Advisory Boards for Teach For America Chicago/Northwest Indiana and the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago. She is a member of both the Economic and Commercial Clubs of Chicago, as well as a member of The Chicago Network.
Heather has recently completed both the highly selective CEO Perspectives Program and the Broad Academy Fellowship. She holds three advanced degrees in education and public service, and is currently enrolled in a doctoral program. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science and graduated magna cum laude from Marquette University, where she was honored as the Young Alumna of the Year in 2017. She is a certified teacher and administrator in Illinois.
Heather is married to Brennan Young, a former biology teacher and football coach at Farragut Career Academy and current CEO of their household. They have two sons and two daughters, which means their lives are very full … and very loud.