For Immediate Release
Date: November 15, 2001
For Information Call
Ernest Wish will succeed McGee on January 1, 2002

CHICAGO-The State Board of Education today designated Ernest R. Wish of Chicago to serve as State Superintendent of Education while it seeks a permanent replacement for Glenn W McGee after McGee's three-year term expires December 31. The Board took the action at its monthly meeting.

Wish was with the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand for 37 years, including 17 as Managing Partner of the Chicago office, until taking early retirement in 1992. In addition, his governmental experience includes service at the state and local levels: as chairman of Governor Jim Edgar's Illinois Health Care Reform Task Force, and both as appointed City Clerk of Chicago and Director of the Revenue Department of the City of Chicago.

Wish has also served as a trustee of DePaul University for more than 25 years, including three years as Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

"Ernie Wish brings a rare combination of skills to this position," said ISBE Chairman Ronald J. Gidwitz. "The Board members have selected someone who has distinguished himself in both the private and public sectors, has been closely involved with higher education and is familiar with the challenges facing elementary and secondary education."

"In the next few months, as the Board conducts its search for a permanent superintendent, Ernie will be responsible for all aspects of state education leadership. He'll be expected to assess the agency's efficiency and effectiveness and make recommendations to the Board for the future. He's eminently qualified to do that," Gidwitz said.

The Board also announced it hopes to complete its search for the new superintendent by July 1, 2002. The first step in that process, the issuing of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to hire a search consultant, is expected to be done next week.

Board members reiterated that the search is completely open - persons from all backgrounds, education and non-education alike, will be urged to apply. The only "preconceptions", the Board has said, are that ISBE is seeking the best possible person for the job and prefers to hire someone from Illinois.

McGee will continue to function as superintendent until December 31, during which time Wish's title will be Superintendent Designate. In August, McGee asked the Board not to renew his contract when it expires.

"We're fortunate that Max will be able to spend valuable time over the next few weeks working with Ernie to acquaint him with issues and the agency," said Gidwitz.

(Mr. Wish’s resume)


Mr. Wish served as Managing Partner of the Chicago Office and the Midwest Region of Coopers & Lybrand for 17 years. He elected early retirement in 1992 in order to pursue other interests, principally community involvement. During his tenure as managing partner, the Chicago operation enjoyed significant growth, moving from last among major CPA firms to second largest in the market. Wish also served as a member of the governing council and on a number of senior committees during his 37 years with Coopers & Lybrand

His professional affiliations have included various officer and committee positions with the Illinois CPA Society and the American Institute of CPA's. He was elected and served as president of the Illinois CPA Society, a 25,000-member state-wide professional organization and as a member of the AICPA Governing Council.

Mr. Wish was elected Chairman of the Board of the Chicago United Way/Crusade of Mercy in 1994 and served as the volunteer leader of the largest local United Way in America for a three-year period. The Crusade raises in excess of $90 million annually and helps support 450 community-based agencies located principally in Cook and DuPage counties. He has served the Crusade in various capacities: as a Chief Crusader, Chairman of the Northern Division and the Major Employers Group, and Chairman for Leadership Giving and New Account Development, as well as a member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Council.

In November 1992, after electing early retirement from Coopers & Lybrand, Wish accepted an appointment by the Governor of Illinois as the Chairman of the Illinois Health Care Reform Task Force. The Task Force was comprised of 55 individuals from throughout the State who were charged with the review of the health care system in Illinois. Recommendations were made to the Governor and the State Legislature for the expansion of health care coverage to all Illinoisans and the implementation of new systems and policies which will result in quality improvement and cost reduction.

As a long-time resident of Chicago, Ernie has been an active participant in various organizations throughout the City. He is a Regent of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, a member of the Boards of Directors of the Lincoln Park Zoological Society, and the Polish American Association and, a member of the Advisory Board of Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development (BUILD). A former member of the Navy Pier Development Authority, he also served as a member of the Illinois Commission on Afro-American Males.

A graduate of DePaul University (B.S. in Accountancy, 1957), Ernie has served as a Trustee of the University for over 25 years. He has fulfilled a number of roles with the University, including Chairman of the Board of Trustees and president of the Alumni Association and the Commerce Council. He founded and was the first president of Ledger & Quill, the alumni organization of the School of Accountancy and has recently completed his chairmanship of the highly successful Cornerstone Capital Campaign.

Ernie received an M. B.A. from the University of Chicago (Beta Gamma Sigma, 1979). A past president of the Associates Program of the University of Chicago, he is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Ernie also participates on the Business Advisory Council at the University of Illinois and is a past president of that organization

He was appointed City Clerk of the City of Chicago in September, 1993. As one of three elected officials of the City, the Clerk is responsible for certain revenue collections, the issuance of business and other licenses, and serves as the custodian of all official documents of the City. During his tenure as City Clerk, significant revenue enhancements and cost reductions were implemented. In July 1995, Wish assumed the responsibilities of Director of the Revenue Department, which handles the collection of over $2.5 billion in license fees, taxes and parking fines. Wish initiated a number of significant enhancements in revenue procedures which eventually resulted in annual net revenue betterment of over $100 million.

Since January 1997, Wish has served as Chairman of Wish Enterprises. He also has served on the boards of two publicly held companies. He chaired or served on the executive, audit, compensation, and acquisition committees of these boards. In addition, Wish served as counsel to the president and principal owner of a start-up, high-tech company and an information systems consulting firm.

Mr. Wish is a past member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Jaycees and a recipient of that organization's Distinguished Service Award. Other recognitions have included the Civic Leadership Award presented by The American Jewish Committee, the first Annual Outstanding Alumni Award presented by DePaul University, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He received the Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from DePaul University. Ernie was also named as a recipient of the Community Service Award of the Illinois CPA Society.