City Club of Chicago: The Future of Leadership in Chicago’s Public Schools
November 14, 2016
The Future of Leadership in Chicago’s Public Schools – Heather Anichini and Elizabeth Swanson
Heather Y. Anichini is President and CEO of The Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund), a nonprofit working to more than double the number of great public school principals in Chicago by 2018. Building upon The Fund’s 2015 call to make Chicago the best city in America to lead a public school, Anichini will share results from this year’s Chicago Principal Engagement Survey. With responses from nearly 80 percent of Chicago’s public school principals, the survey provides real insight into the needs of some of our city’s most important educational leaders.
Anichini came to The Fund in 2012 from Teach For America (TFA), where she served as Vice President for Career Leadership Initiatives for six years. During this time, she built leadership pathways for TFA teachers to stay in education, including routes to principal roles in cities across the country. Anichini began her education career working on Chicago’s West Side with Umoja Student Development Corporation, a nonprofit school-community partnership originally based at Manley High School. She later taught middle school social studies, also on the West Side.
Anichini is a member of the Economic and Commercial Clubs of Chicago. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from Marquette University in Milwaukee, which is as far away from Chicago as she has ever lived. She is a certified teacher and administrator in Illinois. Anichini is married to Brennan Young, a former Chicago Public High School science teacher; they are expecting their fourth child this winter.
Beth Swanson is Vice President of Strategy and Programs for the Joyce Foundation, where she helps guide charitable distributions of $48 million annually from assets of $950 million. Beth works closely with program officers in the development of strategic approaches to reach public policy goals across six focus areas: education, employment, environment, democracy, gun violence prevention and culture. Her experience at the intersection of policy and practice, and her shared love of our community, are evident in her work with program staff and grantees alike.
Before joining Joyce in 2014, Beth served as Deputy for Education in the Mayor’s Office, working closely with Mayor Emanuel and other leaders to define the city’s education policy agenda from birth through college. She served as point person in expanding early learning opportunities, achieving a full school day, bringing quality school options to families, and launching the city’s Summer of Learning. Beth also worked closely with the business community to ensure the City Colleges of Chicago helped students learn skills relevant to the job market.
Previously, Beth was executive director of the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, which invests in people and programs that enrich the life experiences of Chicago’s children. Before that, she led the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Office of Management and Budget under CEO Arne Duncan, and was responsible for the district’s $5.2 billion operating budget. She served as an advisor to the CEO on district priority setting and policy development. Beth also represented CPS in local, state and federal policy discussions. Prior to leading the Budget Office, Beth served as director of the CPS Office of Extended Learning Opportunities.
Beth is Board Chair for Thrive Chicago, was appointed by Governor Rauner to the Illinois P-20 Council, and serves on the board of directors for the Chicago Public Education Fund and One Million Degrees. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. Beth, her husband and their three children live in Chicago, and her children attend Chicago Public Schools.