Money - Establish an adequate and equitable education finance system
Quality - Common definition of, and fair access to, quality education
Autonomy - Maximize district autonomy to provide quality education to all families
Competency - Encourage competency-based learning
Community - Districts and schools as centers of healthy communities
Dr. Tony Smith was appointed by the State Board of Education effective May 1, 2015.
Prior to his arrival at the Illinois State Board of Education, Dr. Smith was the executive director of the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, which annually awards more than $5 million in grants that support children's development and education. Before joining the Stone Foundation, Dr. Smith led the Oakland Unified School District in California, where he helped improve academic outcomes, district finances, family engagement and organizational coherence during his four-year tenure.
Dr. Smith has served in a wide range of leadership roles, primarily in his native state of California. Prior to being superintendent in Oakland, Dr. Smith served as Deputy Superintendent for the San Francisco Unified School District, where he led efforts to close the achievement gap. He also served as Superintendent of the Emery Unified School District. He previously led the Math, Science and Technology Initiative at the Emeryville Citywide Initiative. He oversaw several major programs at the former Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools, now known as the National Equity Project.
Dr. Smith earned his bachelor's degree in English in 1992 from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was captain of the football team. He went on to earn his master's and doctorate degrees in the Division of Language, Literacy and Culture from Cal's Graduate School of Education.
Dr. Smith and his wife, Kathleen, an Oak Park native, and their two daughters reside in River Forest.
Eligio Cerda Pimentel has a demonstrated track record of supporting educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged children in underprivileged communities. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of Cristo Rey High School, which serves students on Chicago’s southwest side who could not otherwise afford a private college-prep education. He is also a past member of the Board of Directors of the Mary Crane Center, which promotes early-childhood education on Chicago’s west and northwest sides. He additionally brings more than 20 years of professional experience, both as an attorney and engineer, to the Board.
Currently, Pimentel is an attorney and shareholder at McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd., which he joined in 1996. His practice focuses on patent litigation and counseling clients on intellectual property strategy.
Pimentel is the son of migrant farm workers from California’s Central Valley. He went on to Stanford University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He then worked for several years as an engineer at the Bechtel Corporation before attending the University of Minnesota Law School, where he earned his law degree.
Pimentel was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education in February 2015 by Governor Bruce Rauner. His term will expire in January 2019.
Cesilie Price currently serves as the chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Lake County in North Chicago.
Price has been a longtime advocate of children’s educational opportunities, working and volunteering for the past 16 years in the underserved communities of Waukegan, North Chicago, Zion, and Beach Park. Her work with the Boys & Girls Club of Lake County has allowed youth to have programming and enrichment opportunities in academic success, healthy life choices, good character, and citizenship both after school and during the summer months.
The Boys & Girls Club of Lake County was recently awarded the Gold Level Gateway to Impact Award from the Boys & Girls Club of America for service to youth. Price continues to cultivate awareness of youth living in poverty and the challenges they encounter as barriers to their success. She has made building partnerships with businesses, community groups, and faith-based organizations a priority in creating a network of support for youth in North Shore communities.
Previously, Price served as president of the Lake County Alliance for Human Services. She was a founding member of District 67’s EFFORT Committee, which was established to foster respect between students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Price also served as District 67’s ED-RED representative.
She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Southern Methodist University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Price was appointed to a partial term to the Illinois State Board of Education in September 2016 and was reappointed in February 2017 by Governor Bruce Rauner. Her term will expire in January 2021.
Mitch Holzrichter has advocated for education reform and greater opportunities for Illinois children for 10 years. He is a resident of Chicago and has volunteered as a tutor and mentor to students at schools in the city.
Holzrichter was deputy chief of staff to Governor Bruce Rauner in 2016 when he worked with legislative leaders to launch the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission, which produced a blueprint for equity-based funding. He also negotiated legislative reforms to reduce the number of state mandates and provide greater flexibility to school districts. In his private practice, he assisted the City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools in designing and implementing education and youth programs funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Holzrichter is an attorney and partner in the government and infrastructure practices at Mayer Brown LLP. He represents public agencies and private clients in complex government transactions, including the development of new infrastructure assets. He also advises clients on government ethics issues and regulatory compliance.
He was raised in the Chicago suburbs and is a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Michigan Law School. He currently resides in Chicago with his wife and son.
Holzrichter was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education in January 2018 by Governor Bruce Rauner. His term will expire in January 2021.
Ruth Cross brings more than three decades of extensive experience as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and educational consultant to the Illinois State Board of Education.
Cross is currently a senior consultant and trainer for the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), which promotes integrated academic, social, and emotional learning for all children in preschool through high school. Her work supports smaller districts in DuPage County that partner with CASEL and the DuPage County Regional Office of Education. She also consults for the Chicago Public Schools on social and emotional learning issues.
Prior to joining CASEL, Cross was the assistant superintendent of School Programs and Services in the Naperville School District. She was also a principal at two elementary schools in that district. Cross began her educational career as an elementary school teacher in Plano in 1973. Within five years, she took on the additional role of gifted and math district coordinator.
Cross earned her bachelor's degree from St. Xavier College and her master’s degree from Governors State University.
Cross was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education by Governor Bruce Rauner in February 2017. Her term will expire in January 2021.
Lula Ford brings 34 years of experience as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent to the Board.
Ford began her career as an elementary school teacher in Chicago Public Schools. Throughout her three decades at CPS, she was also a math coordinator and principal. Ford earned the Principal of Excellence Award from 1992-94. She also served as an assistant superintendent and the chief instruction officer.
Most recently, Ford was a commissioner on the Illinois Commerce Commission. She served on that board for 10 years until 2013. Prior to that, she was the assistant director of Central Management Services.
Ford earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. She also holds two master’s degrees - one in inner city studies from Northeastern Illinois University and the other in vocational counseling from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has one daughter, Charisse Ford.
Ford was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education in February 2015 by Governor Bruce Rauner. Her term will expire in January 2019.
Susie Morrison of Carlinville has worked as an Illinois educator and advocate for children for almost 40 years.
Susie began her career as a social studies teacher, working for 10 years in Homer and Girard. Morrison taught middle and high school social studies and had administrative experience as a building principal and director of curriculum and instruction. She was also selected as the first state director for AdvancED at the University of Illinois.
Morrison’s statewide leadership responsibilities have included stints as state director of School Improvement, state director of Gifted Education, state director of Education to Careers, and program director for many state and federal programs.
She had oversight for state accountability, standards and assessment, teaching and learning, educator effectiveness, special education, early childhood education, bilingual education, and career and technical education prior to retiring as deputy superintendent/chief education officer at ISBE in June 2015.
She was elected twice by her peers to serve as the president of the Deputies Leadership Council at the Council of Chief State School Officials. Morrison maintains Illinois licensure as a teacher, principal, and superintendent.
She earned her bachelor’s degree from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from the University of Illinois Springfield and a Superintendent Endorsement from Eastern Illinois University.
Susie and her husband, Dave, have four children and one granddaughter.
Morrison was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education in July 2017 by Governor Bruce Rauner. Her term will expire in January 2019.
Craig Lindvahl brings more than 35 years of experience in education and business to the Board. He is an award-winning educator who has earned the Milken National Educator Award and has twice been a finalist for Illinois Teacher of the Year.
Lindvahl spent 34 years in Teutopolis District 50 schools. He taught music, band, television production, and entrepreneurship programs. Some of the accomplishments during his tenure include tripling the size of the district band program and creating a television production program. He also led a group of students to the Marshall Islands to produce a student-led documentary about the country and culture. The product was distributed to 5,000 schools through the Peace Corps.
Lindvahl is also an award-winning filmmaker, having earned 12 Mid-America Emmy Awards and 11 Telly Awards for his writing, producing, editing, and camera work. Currently, he is the chief visionary for the Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship, a company that educates future business leaders.
Lindvahl was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education in February 2015 by Governor Bruce Rauner. His term will expire in January 2019.
Kevin Settle of Mount Vernon spent his entire career in the field of education. He retired from Mount Vernon City Schools in District 80 after 17 years in 2011. During his tenure there, he was the assistant superintendent before assuming leadership as the superintendent. He was the assistant regional superintendent for Hamilton and Jefferson counties for nine years. Settle began his educational career as a math teacher, then became the principal at Webber Township High School.
Since his retirement, Settle has remained active in the educational community. He has served as a mentor to new superintendents for the Illinois Association of School Administrators. He is a trustee for the Schweinfurth Foundation and is president of the Mount Vernon City Schools Foundation. Settle championed the Supplemental Education Services Program in Jefferson County and served as the coordinator for a YMCA program that provided after-school services to at-risk youth in three different school districts.
Settle was honored in 2007 as the Illinois Superintendent of the Year. He has also received the Power of Change Award from the NAACP and the Champion of Hope Award from the United Way. In addition, he was Jefferson County’s Citizen of the Year in 2008.
Settle earned his bachelor’s degree in math education in 1977 from Eastern Illinois University. He went on to earn his master’s and doctorate degrees at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in educational administration.
Settle was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education in February 2017 by Governor Bruce Rauner. His term will expire in January 2021. He and his wife, Cheryl, reside in Mount Vernon.
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