Chicago Board of Education

Chicago Board of Education
Established1837 (as "Chicago Board of School Inspectors")
TypeBoard of education
Miguel del Valle
Sendhil Revuluri

The Chicago Board of Education serves as the board of education (school board) for the Chicago Public Schools.

The board traces its origins to the Board of School Inspectors, created in 1837.

The board is currently appointed solely by the mayor of Chicago. Between 2024 and 2027, the board is slated to transition to consist entirely of elected members.[1][2]


Board of School Inspectors (1837–1857)

On May 12, 1837, the Chicago Common Council (as the Chicago City Council was called at the time) used their powers as ex-officio commissioners of schools to appoint the first Board of School Inspectors, the city's school board.[3] Despite the existence of this board, the Common Council however had ultimate power of acting as the de facto school board in the early decades under 1839 legislation.[3] The Common Council initially held the authority to the members of the Board of School Inspectors.[3] Ultimately, the mayor would gain the power to appoint the members with city council approval.[3]

In 1855, the authority to remove the superintendent of Chicago Public Schools was given to the Board of School Inspectors by the same ordinance which created the city's first high school.[3]

Board of Education

In 1857, the school board was renamed the Chicago Board of Education under the passage of a new school charter by the Illinois General Assembly, which also increased its membership from seven to fifteen.[4]

In a charter passed by the Illinois General Assembly on February 13, 1863, the Chicago Board of Education was granted exclusive power over operating the city's schools.[3] Greater administrative control was given to the board in 1865, when the General Assembly amended the 1863 charter, including moving control over the school fund, which had previously belonged to the Common Council[3]

The Cities and Villages Act of 1872 made further clear the relationship between the roles of the Common Council and the Chicago Board of Education, strengthening the power of the Chicago Board of Education.[3]

The board expanded ultimately to 21 members, before being reduced by the 1917 Otis Bill to eleven members.[3][5] The term of office was increased by the Otis bill from three years to five.[3]

In 1988, the Government of Illinois passed the Chicago School Reform Act, which expanded the Chicago Board of Education's size to fifteen seats.[6]

In the original creation of the modern Chicago Board of Education in 1872, the mayor of Chicago was given authority to appoint the board's members.[6] However, in 1988, the Government of Illinois' Chicago School Reform Act had created a School Board Nominating Commission consisting 23 parents and community members and five members appointed by the Mayor of Chicago who would recommend nominees to the Mayor of Chicago.[6] This change lasted until 1995, when Government of Illinois' Chicago School Reform Amendatory Act made the power to appoint members of the board the unilateral authority of the mayor.[6][7]

The Government of Illinois' Chicago School Reform Amendatory Act temporarily retitled the board as the "Reform Board of Trustees" from 1995 until July 1, 1999, after which period the name "Chicago Board of Education" was restored.[7][8]

Elected school board (2025 onwards)

On July 29, 2021, governor J. B. Pritzker signed into law HB 2908, legislation that will make it so that, by 2027, the Board of Education will consist entirely of elected members.[2][9][10] The legislation will also expand the size of the board to 21 members (including the president).[11]

Per the legislation, in a November 2024 election, ten elected members will be elected from ten geographic districts to four-year terms that will begin in January 2025.[12] From January 2025 through January 2027, these elected members will serve alongside 11 members (including the board's president) appointed by the mayor, subject to the approval of the Chicago City Council.[12][1][13] With the exception of the president, each of the appointed members will hail from a different one of the ten electoral districts used for the 2024 Board of Education elections.[12] The 2024 election will be the first time in Chicago's history that the city will hold a school board election.[14] Per the legislation, in 2026, the number of electoral districts will be increased to twenty, and an election will be held for the Board of education members from the ten new districts without incumbents.[12] The members elected in this election will serve four-year terms beginning in January 2027.[12][15] Resultantly, beginning in January 2027, each geographic district will be represented by a single elected member.[13] Also in 2026, the board's president will be elected at-large to a four-year term.[12][15]The legislation dictates that the convention of having twenty members from geographic districts plus a board president elected at-large will remain place thereafter.[1]

The Board of education will see members from ten of its geographic districts up for election every two-years.[13] The electoral districts that will be used for Board of Education elections will have their boundaries drawn by Illinois General Assembly.[1][13] With its 21 members, Chicago's Board of Education will become the largest school board among major cities in the United States by number of members.[14] Under the new law, newly-elected members take office on January 15.[13] If vacancies arise on the Board of Education, the remainder of the vacant seat's unexpired term will be filled by a mayoral appointee, with appointees being subject to the approval of the Chicago City Council.[13]

Current members

The following table lists the members of the current board (as of August 4, 2021):[16]

NameYear appointedMayor appointed by
Miguel del Valle (president)2019Lori Lightfoot
Sendhil Revuluri (vice-president)2019Lori Lightfoot
Elizabeth Todd-Breland2019Lori Lightfoot
Luisiana Meléndez2019Lori Lightfoot
Amy Rome2019Lori Lightfoot
Lucino Sotelo2019Lori Lightfoot
Dwayne Truss2019Lori Lightfoot

President of the Chicago Board of Education

President of Chicago Board of Education
MDV (5720370122 a).jpg
Miguel del Valle

since June 26, 2019[17]

The Chicago Board of Education is led by a president.[18] The current President of the Chicago Board of Education is Miguel del Valle.[18]

Since the 1995 Chicago School Reform Amendatory Act went into effect, the president has been directly appointed by the mayor of Chicago, rather than being elected among the members of the board.[19]

Beginning with the 2026 Chicago Board of Education elections, after which the Board of Education is slated to become an entirely-elected board, the president will be elected at-large.[1]


Chairmen of the Chicago Board of School Inspectors (1840–1857)

Until 1857, the head of the school board was known as the "chairman of the Chicago Board of School Inspectors"[20] Written records of the board prior to 1840 are incomplete.[4]

William Jones1840–1843[4]
Jonathan Young Scammon (1812–1890) (1).pngJ. Young Scammon1843–1845[4]
William Jones1845–1848[4]
E. S. Kimberly1848[4]
Henry Smith1850–1851[4]
William Jones1851–1852[4]
Flavel Moseley1852–1853[4]
William H. Brown1853–1854[4]
Flavel Moseley1854–1857[4]

Presidents of the Chicago Board of Education (1857–1995)

Flavel Moseley1857–1858[4]
Luther Haven1858–1860[4]
John Clark Dore1860–1861[4][20]
John H. Foster1861–1862[4][20]
Walternewberry (1).jpgWalter Loomis Newberry1863[4]
Charles N. Holden1864–1866[4]
George C. Clarke1866–1867[4]
Lorenz Brentano 1878 (1).jpgLorenzo Brentano1867–1868[4]
S. A. Briggs1868–1869[4]
William H. King1869–1870[4]
Eben F. Runyan.jpgEben F. Runyan1870–1872[4]
William H. King1872–1874[4]
John H. Richberg1874–1876[4]
W. K. Sullivan1876–1878[4]
William Harvey Wells (1).jpgWilliam H. Wells1878–1880[4]
Martin Delany1880–1882[4]
Norman Bridge1882–1883[4]
Adolf Kraus (1).pngAdolf Kraus1883–1884[4]
James rood doolittle (1).jpgJames Rood Doolittle1884–1885[4]
Adolf Kraus (1).pngAdolf Kraus1885–1886[4]
Allan C. Story1886–1888[4]
Graeme Stewart (14787989243).jpgGraeme Stewart1888–1889[4]
William G. Beale1889–1890[4]
Louis Nettlehorst1890–1891[4]
John McLaren1891–1893[21][22][23]
Alfred S. Trude1893–1895[21][24]
Daniel R. Cameron1895–1896[25][26]
Edward G. Halle1896–1898[27][28][29]
Graham H. Harris1898–1902[30][31]
Clayton Mark1902–1905[32]
Edward Milton Tilden Dbf411.jpgEdward Tilden1905–1906[33][34]
Emil W. Ritter1906–1907[35][36]
Otto C. Schneider1907–1909[37][38]
Alfred R. Urion1909–1910[39][37]
James Burton "J. B." McFatrich1910–1912[39][40]
Peter Reinberg (1).jpegPeter Reinberg1912−1914[40][41]
Michael J. Collins1914–1915[42][43]
Jacob M Loeb (1).jpgJacob M. Loeb1915–1917[44][45]
Edwin S. Davis1917–1922[46][44]
Dr. John Dill Robertson May 4, 1915 (1).jpgJohn Dill Robertson1922–1923[47][48][49][50]
Charles M. Moderwell1923–1925[51][52]
Edward B. Ellicott1925–1927Died in office[53][54]
Walter J. Raymer1927[53]
J. Lewis Coath1927–1928[55]
H. Wallace Caldwell1928–1930[56][57]
Lewis E. Myers1930–1933[56][58]
James B. McCahey1933–1948[59][60]
Charles J. Whipple1947–1948[61][62]
William B. Traynor1948–1955[63]
Sargent Shriver 1961 (cropped 3x4).jpgSargent Shriver1955–1960[64]
Thomas L. Marshall1960–1961[65]
William G. Caples1961–1962[66]
Clair Roddewig1962–1964[67]
Frank M. Whiston1964–1970[68]
John D. Carey1970–1979[69][70]
Catherine Rohter1979–1980[70][71][72]
Kenneth B. Smith1980–1981[73][74]
Raul Villalobos1981–1983[75][76]
Sol Brandzel1983–1984[77][78]
George Muñoz1984–1987[79][80]
Frank Gardner1987–1989[81][82]
James Compton interim1989–1990Served on an interim basis[83][84]
Clinton Bristow Jr.1990–1992[85][86]
Florence Cox1992–1993[85][87]
D. Sharon Gant1993–1995[88][89]

Chairmen of the School Reform Board of Trustees (1995–1999)

Chico (5433855145).jpgGery Chico1995–1999Appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley[90][6][91]

Presidents of the Chicago Board of Education (1999–present)

Chico (5433855145).jpgGery Chico1999–2001Appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley[90][91]
Michael W. Scott2001–2006Appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley[92][93]
Rufus Williams2006–2009Appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley[94]
Michael W. Scott2009Appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley; died in office[93][95]
Mary Richardson-Lowry2010–2011Appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley[96]
David J. Vitale2011–2015Appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel[97][98]
Frank Clark2016–2019Appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel[99][100]
Miguel Del Valle (3400009858) (2).jpgMiguel del Valle2019–presentAppointed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot[101]


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Lorenz Brentano, ehem. Präsident der provisorischen Regierung Badens 1849. Lebt später in Chicago, Illinois, teilkolorierter Holzstich, ca. 14 x 12 cm
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William Harvey Wells
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Title: History of Illinois Republicanism, embracing a history of the Republican party in the state to the present time ... with biographies of its founders and supporters ... also a chronological statement of important political events since 1774
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t, and wasone of the charter members. This regiment was disbanded after the XationaiGuard Act was passed in 18*7 Mr. Stewart has never held office, and is free from political alliances. Heis an ardent Republican and believes every one should be a party man to thetxtent of doing his full duty as a patriot and a citizen. He resides in the -.ty-fourth Ward, where his personal influence is recognized. For manyyears he has been one of the controlling forces of the Cook County CentralRepublican Committee, and is also a valuable member of the Xationai Repub-lican Executive Committee. He has served on the Board of Education for sixart is a member of Hespena Lodge Xo. 411. A. F. & A. M..Washington Chapter Xo. 43, Montjoie Commandery Xo. 53. Oriental Con- ry and Mystic Shrine Medina Temple, also a member of the Hamilton.uette and Chicago Clubs. In 1S79 Mr. Stewart was married to Miss Xellie Pullman. They have two ren. Helen and Mercedes. Mr. Stewart resides at Xo. 18r Pine Street.Chicag r28
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Peabody LSC representative and MDV
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Author/Creator: Lloyd Lee from chicago, Licence: CC BY 2.0
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Portrait of Adolf Kraus from A Biographical History With Portraits of Prominent Men of the Great West, 1902, page 214
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Aaron Camper (1985-). Shriver served as first Director of the Peace Corps (to which this picture relates). He was also US ambassador to France, and US Vice-Presidential candidate in 1972.
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⁨⁨The Sentinel⁩⁩, 21 August 1914
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City Clerk Miguel del Valle & Lupe del Valle
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Portrait of Walter Loomis Newberry (1804-1868), American businessman and philanthropist, President of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad.
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Eben F. Runyon
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Author/Creator: Thasanya.J, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Jacob Moritz Loeb was a former President of the Chicago Board of Education, famous for the "Loeb Rule".
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Portrait of Jonathan Young Scammon (1812–1890) from The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume VII, 1897, page 527
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Edward Milton Tilden by Robert Wadsworth Grafton