Pritzker’s top education aide steps down

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There’s been another big departure from Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s inner circle.

Stepping down as deputy governor for education is Jesse Ruiz, a former Chicago Public Schools chief who has been in the middle of everything from guiding schools through COVID-19 and mask mandates to trying to reverse a decline in enrollment at state colleges and universities.

“Jesse is always thinking about the bright young people for whom education serves as a launching path to a brighter future,” Pritzker said in announcing the departure at a press conference.

The son of immigrants who was the first in his family to attend college, Ruiz “had to carve his own path,” Pritzker said. But though he sometimes faced setbacks, “The idea of having a second chance guided Jesse Ruiz every day of his life.”

Ruiz, 56, was not immediately available for comment. But the Chicago lawyer is believed headed back into private practice. An affable and generally well liked official, Pritzker noted that he’d frequently show up at the office with a smile on his face and a box of doughnuts from his favorite bakery in his hands.

Earlier another deputy governor left the administration, Dan Hynes, who has supervised financial, economic development and other fields. The governor’s top campaign aide, Quentin Fulks, left to run U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock’s re-election campaign in Georgia.

Pritzker insiders have suggested there’s no pattern to the departures beyond the obvious fact that in the administration’s third year, some turnover is to be expected.

Ruiz is best known to Chicagoans as the former head of the Board of Education who took over as acting superintendent after Barbara Byrd-Bennett was forced out in a financial scandal. He’s also chaired the Chicago Park District Board and the Illinois State Board of Education.

via Crain’s Chicago Business

August 23, 2021 at 01:38PM

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