Chicago’s 25 Most Powerful Women 2019: Janice Jackson

Janice Jackson Chicago Powerful WomenDr. Janice K. Jackson has been immersed in Chicago Public Schools her entire life. She was a CPS student from Head Start through 12th grade, then began her teaching career at Chicago’s South Shore High School. Since that time, Dr. Jackson has served as a principal, a Network Chief, the Chief Education Officer, and now as Chief Executive Officer for CPS, the third largest school district in the country.

Dr. Jackson is responsible for all CPS departments, including the Office of Teaching and Learning, which provides high-quality curriculum to engage and empower students, and the Office of College and Career Success, which works to guarantee that every student in every school has the resources they need to be successful in college, career, and life. Other departments under her purview include the Office of Language and Cultural Education, which ensures that a language barrier never stands in the way of a child’s success, and the Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services, which provides students in special education with a high-quality academic experience that is tailored to their unique needs.

During her tenure as Chief Education Officer in 2015, Dr. Jackson has focused on building excellence, equity, and access across the District, especially with regard to CPS high schools. Through a comprehensive High School Strategy, she is raising both the bar and the stakes for these crucial academic years, working to ensure that every student in Chicago has a quality high school option within three miles of their home.

Dr. Jackson was also the driving force behind GoCPS, the District’s first common application for all CPS and charter high schools. Launched in October 2017, this application system has dramatically simplified the high school application process while improving access and equity for all CPS high school students.

These combined efforts have propelled CPS students to a record-high graduation rate of 77.3 percent, and Dr. Jackson’s support of a graduation requirement insisting that all students have a solid post-secondary plan is ensuring that Chicago’s youth leave the classroom fully prepared for what comes next.

As a lifelong educator, Dr. Jackson is committed to providing all schools with a clear framework for excellence. This includes high-quality curricular options aimed at minimizing the achievement gap, especially among minority students. The evidence of her success can be seen in rising standardized test scores, especially among English Learners, whose progress led the way to CPS students once again outpacing their peers nationally on the 2016-2017 NWEA exam.

Dr. Jackson is a progressive, forward-thinking educator who believes in setting the bar high. Her Three-Year Vision for CPS, which was unveiled in 2016, is a comprehensive, research-based strategy that will launch CPS to even higher levels of student achievement. The vision focuses on promoting academic quality, building stakeholder trust and integrity, and achieving fiscal stability, and is a carefully crafted plan for guiding work across the District.

Dr. Jackson holds a Master’s in Leadership and Administration and a Doctorate in Education in Policy Studies in Urban School Leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was a member of the University of Chicago’s Network for College Success, and was also honored by the National Council of Negro Women Chicago as a Woman Making History.

In her spare time, Dr. Jackson enjoys spending time with her family, especially her daughter, Tori, and her stepson, Torrence, Jr.

See our complete list: Chicago’s 25 Most Powerful Women 2019