Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson announced her resignation Monday, effective June 30, stating in a letter to staff, “While I feel there is still more work to be done in CPS, I also believe it is time to pass the torch to new leadership for the next chapter.”
Jackson’s resignation marks a trifecta of sorts among the nation’s three largest school districts in recent months, following the departures of New York City Public Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner. The trio of high-profile exits highlights the toll the COVID-19 pandemic have had on those in school districts’ central offices as well as in classrooms.
As Dan Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, recently told The New York Times, superintendents are “in communities where half the parents want the schools open, half the parents want the schools shut. Whatever you decide, it’s a no-win situation, because you’re going to have people mad at you.” He also said many have faced personal threats over pandemic decisions.
These factors on their own are enough to result in burnout, but pressures from city hall have also reportedly played a role in some cases, as well.