October 12, 2023
The State of Our Educator Pipeline 2023 – moderated by Shayne Evans – State Rep. Carol Ammons, Briana Morales and Dr. Kimako Patterson
Amid a growing public awareness of challenges staffing schools and a landscape altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Advance Illinois seeks to put data at the forefront of conversations on what must be done to ensure every student has access to high-quality, racially diverse educators.
The State of our Educator Pipeline 2023 unpacks early impacts from the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic on our teacher, principal, and paraprofessional pipelines and identifies where the state has made progress and where some of the largest barriers exist in increasing diversity among our school’s teacher and leaders.
Join us as we discuss what the state has done to strengthen our educator pipeline, and explore what challenges remain, and what lies ahead.
State Rep. Carol Ammons
Representative Carol Ammons is a dedicated public servant in her fifth term representing the 103rd district in the Illinois General Assembly. Notably, she holds the distinction of being the first African-American elected to champion the interests of the 103rd District. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to advancing equity and justice both within her district and on a broader scale.
With an impressive record of service spanning sixteen years across county, city, and state levels of government, Rep. Ammons possesses a wealth of experience. Her influential roles include Chairwoman of the Small Business, Tech Innovation, and Entrepreneurship committee, a senior member of the Higher Education and Higher Education Appropriations committees, and she serves as the Vice Chair of the Women’s Caucus and she is the joint-chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. In 2021, she was honored to join Speaker Welch’s Leadership team as the House Democratic Conference Chair.
As the joint chair of the ILBC, she is proud of the monumental work that her caucus has led. She and her colleagues initiated & passed 4 Legislative Pillars that include: Criminal Justice Reform, Education and Workforce Development, Economic Access, Equity, and Opportunity and Health Care and Human Services.
Rep. Ammons’s exemplary efforts have garnered widespread recognition. She has received prestigious awards like the Color of Change Thurgood Marshall Award for Public Service for Fair Education in 2022, the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation Legislative Leadership Award in 2021, and the National Shining Star Award from the National Organization of Black-Elected Legislative Women (N.O.B.E.L) in 2019, among others. Beyond these accolades, Rep. Ammons is an accomplished fellow, including being an Edgar Fellow, a CSG Midwest’s Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development (BILLD) Fellow, and a Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow.
Among her numerous responsibilities, Rep. Ammons serves as the co-chair of the Commission on Equitable Public University Funding Task Force and chaired the Human Trafficking Task Force and the Higher Education in Prisons Task Force. Her past roles also encompass serving on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pretrial Practices Task Force and the Implementation Task Force.
Her dynamic leadership extends to a remarkable nine legislative committees, which include Appropriations-Higher Education; Ethics & Elections; Higher Ed-Scholarship & Tuition Assistance; Higher Education; Immigration & Human Rights; Personnel & Pensions; Prescription Drug Affordability; Small Business & Tech Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (Chair) and leads various commissions and task forces.
Briana Morales is a proud Latina and freedom fighter for students in alternative education, where she has spent her career loving and learning alongside students furthest from justice in East St. Louis, IL. She focuses on empowering her students with personalized, competency-based education where their cultural funds of knowledge are honored and students work at their own pace to master content rather than traditional learning that focuses on seat time and completion of work. Briana was honored as a 2021 NCTE Early Career Educator of Color and has shared the journey she and her students have embarked on to turn pain into power through narrative poetry of witness both locally and nationally. Her commitment as a school board member for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, School District #428 has allowed her to elevate the voices of justice-impacted youth. She is deeply passionate about creating healing-centered spaces where Black and brown students can feel seen, heard, and, one day, be free to be their authentic selves. Her love offering toward this future is her nonprofit, (Sister)Hood of Hope, Inc., dedicated to honoring brighter futures for girls of color everywhere by empowering them through the community of sisterhood. She earned her BA in secondary English education from St. Ambrose University and her MEd in curriculum and instruction from American College of Education. She is currently pursuing an EdD in diversity and equity in education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Briana is the 2023 Illinois Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Kimako Patterson
Dr. Kimako Patterson is the Chief of Staff for the Illinois State Board of Education. She served as Superintendent of Prairie-Hills Elementary School District 144 for 12 years. She has been in the field of education for more than 25 years. She has been a teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, and an Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Technology.
Dr. Patterson has a bachelor’s degree in English Education, along with a master’s degree in educational leadership, and a Doctorate in Education from National Louis University. Formerly, she sat on the advisory board for Trinity Christian College, and the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of Illinois. Currently, she is the President of IASA-South Cook (Illinois Association of School Administrators) and President of the SCSDD (Superintendent’s Commission for the Study of Demographics and Diversity) along with sitting on the Illinois Task Force for Autism and other various local, state, and federal agencies and organizations.
Dr. Patterson has a perpetual passion for children and is determined to prepare the next generation to excel and compete globally! She created a STEM Program, while expanding the IMSA program to include 3-5 grade students in her District. During her last year as Superintendent, she opened the district’s first STEAM Academy for students in grades K-3. . Dr. Kimako Patterson’s passion is contagious and all who collaborate with her, for her, and alongside her, have come to know and understand the elevated expectations she has for her staff, parents, and students. She is excited about joining the Illinois State Board of Education. Dr. Kimako Patterson is determined to ensure that we provide equality, equity, and excellence to all students within the state of Illinois.
Dr. Patterson has three wonderful children, two boys and one girl. She is the parent of a son with autism and advocates for special needs children on all levels, local, state, and federal.
Shayne Evans is the Founder and President of the Academy Group. Previously Evans served as the Chief Executive Officer of the University of Chicago Charter School and Managing Director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute. At UEI, Evans also co-founded The Success Project, a curriculum focused on preparing students for college access and graduation beginning in 6th grade, a program included in President Obama’s College Opportunity Day of Action.
Evans also served as the UChicago Charter Woodlawn campus Director and Co-Founded the UChicago Charter Carter G. Woodson campus. Before joining the UChicago Charter School, Evans worked as an 8th grade mathematics teacher at the Chicago International Charter School, an AP US History teacher at Ida Crown Jewish Academy and an 8th grade teacher at Chicago Public School’s Julia Lathrop Elementary.
Evans earned a BA in Political Science and African American History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master’s Degree from Concordia University. Evans has been the recipient of many honors and awards, including the 2017 NAACP Educator of the Year Award. Evans has spoken across the nation about what is possible for young people from underserved communities and the importance of student agency as a guide for success.