City Club of Chicago: Chicago’s Principal Priority — Leading our Nation
October 23, 2017
Chicago’s Principal Priority — Leading our Nation – moderated by Heather Anichini – featuring Kassie Davis, Dr. LeViis Haney, Dr. Janice K. Jackson, & Anne Wicks
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. Under her leadership, The Fund has invested almost $25 million to launch and support programs designed to recruit, support and retain strong principals; to foster innovation in Chicago’s schools through national partnerships; and to advocate for policies that enable strong principals to succeed.
At the same time, Chicago is one of only three cities nationally that is seeing consistent improvement in academic outcomes, graduation rate and college persistence. The Fund has ensured more public schools have the leadership and support required to accelerate those kinds of learning and life outcomes for 381,000 students citywide.
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, by cultivating relationships with national organizations, top graduate schools, local school districts and foundations.
Anichini began her education career working on Chicago’s West Side with Umoja Student Development Corporation, a nonprofit school-community partnership. She later taught middle school social studies as a TFA corps member.
Anichini earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from Marquette University. She holds several advanced degrees from local universities, and is a certified teacher and administrator in Illinois. She is married to Brennan Young, a former Chicago Public High School science teacher and football coach and a current full-time dad. They have two sons and two daughters – Devan, Garrett, Delaney and Cora.
Kassie Davis has served as Executive Director of CME Group Foundation since its creation in 2008. The CME Group Foundation works with universities, school districts, charter networks and nonprofit organizations to advance the economy by supporting education from cradle to career, primarily in the Chicago region. Davis is responsible for overall operation of the Foundation and Trust, including strategy development, proposal review, grant evaluation, communications and investment management.
Previously, Davis served as senior program officer for arts and culture at The Chicago Community Trust from 2004 to 2006. From 2000 to 2003, she served as project director of Giving Greater Chicago, an initiative of the Donors Forum of Chicago promoting the creation of permanent philanthropic capital. Earlier, she was executive director of the Illinois Arts Council, the state agency responsible for funding the arts. Davis entered the Chicago philanthropy world in 1990 when she started the corporate contributions program at Marshall Field’s.
Davis earned a bachelor’s degree from Stephens College and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago.
Dr. LeViis A. Haney
Dr. LeViis Haney is Principal of Joseph Lovett Elementary School in Chicago and Adjunct Professor at Northeastern Illinois University’s Education Leadership Department. As a school leader, Dr. Haney has implemented robust blended learning models at a number of schools, and is in the midst of implementing a whole school personalized learning model as principal of Joseph Lovett. As a result of the innovative approaches to instruction and personalization implemented by he and his team, Lovett has experienced impressive gains in reading and math growth scores, and has been recognized as a national model for personalization in urban elementary schools. Dr. Haney sits on a number of boards, including the Loyola University Chicago School Of Education Advisory Board and the Northeastern Illinois University Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education’s Field Experience Advisory Board. He has participated on a number of panels and has delivered presentations on personalized learning across the country. Dr. Haney received a Doctorate of Education degree from Loyola University in Chicago, and recently received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the university.
Dr. Janice Jackson
Dr. Janice K. Jackson, a recognized leader in the field of urban education, was named Chief Education Office (CEdO) for Chicago Public Schools in July 2015. A self-described progressive educator, she believes that high expectations and equally high levels of support must be provided to all children. In her role as Chief Education Office, Dr. Jackson leads the entire academic arm of CPS, which includes 660 schools in 13 networks, and is the third largest school district in the country.
Prior to her current role as Chief Education Officer, Dr. Jackson led Network 9 – one of the CPS’ 13 school zones – which includes 26 schools and serves 14,000 students. In this capacity, she provided principals with supervision and guidance on strengthening students’ academic foundations. Dr. Jackson began her CPS career as a Social Studies teacher at South Shore High School. After 5 years in the classroom, Dr. Jackson led the Al Raby School for Community and Environment, which became one of the District’s most successful neighborhood high schools, with a graduation rate of over 80 percent and higher than expected college enrollment. After five years as Principal of Raby HS, Dr. Jackson was chosen to lead the new George Westinghouse College Prep High School. She opened this diverse west side high school with amazing speed, and its success has been recognized nationally, due in part to a thriving world language program and partnerships, like the Northwestern Medicine Scholars Program, which give promising students interested in the medical profession a chance to study with the outstanding physicians and researchers of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Jackson holds a BA in secondary education and a MA from Chicago State University and a MA in leadership and administration and a PhD in education policy studies and urban school leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Anne Wicks serves as the Director of Education Reform at the Bush Institute. In this role, she develops and oversees the policy, research, and engagement work of the Education Reform team. She also serves the Director of Leadership Programs, which includes coordinating strategy and support for the Bush Institute’s four cohort-based leadership programs.
Before joining the Bush Institute, Wicks served for five years as Associate Dean for External Relations at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. In addition to leading a team with revenue, communications, and engagement goals, she supported Dean Karen Symms Gallagher on a variety of special projects including the launch and early growth of Ednovate Charter Schools. She currently serves as the chair of PMC Support, a supporting organization for Ednovate Schools. Over her career, she has held management and resource development roles at organizations including Teach for America, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, and Stanford University.
Wicks holds a B.A in American Studies and a M.A. in Education from Stanford University (during which she taught 8th grade social studies), as well as a M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. A former captain of Stanford’s women’s volleyball team, Wicks was part of three national championship teams, two as a player and one as an assistant coach.