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For Immediate Release
August 25, 2005

Illinois Education Excellence Task Force
continues dialogue with major employers,
college administrators, parents and educators at Chicago hearing

Meeting set for Monday, August 29
at the James R. Thompson Center

Chicago, Ill. –The Illinois Education Excellence Task Force (IEETF) will bring together educators, the business community, college administrators and parents at its second public meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, August 29, at the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph, Chicago, Room 9-040.

The Task Force was formed by Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Chairman Jesse Ruiz and announced May 16 by Gov. Rod Blagojevich. It is chaired by former Chicago Public Schools President Gery Chico.

“While education funding is important, we need to look beyond just the dollars and determine how we can better prepare our kids for successful lives and rewarding jobs, whether they attend college or go directly into the work force,” Chico said.

“Our first public meeting last month in Naperville sparked some serious synergy between the people who will be hiring our children and those who will be preparing them for their futures,” Chico said. “We expect to hear some exciting perspectives at our upcoming Chicago meeting as well. After all, better preparing our kids for solid jobs is a win-win-win for them, the schools that help prepare them, and the employers who require their skills.”

“We want to make certain Illinois school children are receiving the best possible education,” ISBE Chairman Ruiz said. “That means preparing them for the real world that awaits them outside of high school and beyond college. This Task Force is providing some diverse insights that we hope will lead to some fresh approaches to education in Illinois.”

“We have already established a meaningful dialogue between our state’s job providers, the people who prepare our children and the people who run our universities,” Chico said. “We need to make certain that everyone’s needs are being met.”

“I am pleased to serve on this Task Force which is already establishing an expansive dialogue and exploring constructive ways to best prepare our children for the future,” Task Force member Max McGee said. “The Task Force is working to find the best means of helping each Illinois school child to achieve his or her potential.”

“This is a critically important effort to synchronize education with our vision for the future,” Task Force member Avis LaVelle said. “Young people must emerge from our schools with skills for the jobs of the future.”

Members of the Illinois Education Excellence Task Force include:

  • Gery Chico (chairman), Chicago – Chico previously served as President of the Chicago Public Schools. He is law partner at Chico and Nunes LLP in Chicago. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois and his Juris doctorate from Loyola University.
  • Georgia Costello, Belleville – Costello serves as Assistant Superintendent for the St. Clair County Regional Office of Education. In addition, she serves on the Board of Trustees at McKendree College. She has been recognized for her work to support elementary, secondary and higher education. She completed her undergraduate studies at McKendree College. and her Master’s Degree at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SLU-C). She is a doctoral candidate at SIU-C
  • Sherry Eagle, Aurora West – Eagle retired as Superintendent of West Aurora School District 129 on June 30 after a noted career in which she successfully led the district through a time of dramatic growth. Eagle has received the Quad County Urban League Leadership Award, the Illinois Education Association’s Friend of Education Award, and the Illinois State Board of Education’s “Break the Mold” Superintendent Award. Eagle completed her doctoral studies in Leadership and Educational Policy at Northern Illinois University.
  • Avis Lavelle, Chicago – Lavelle served on the Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees. She is a communications professional, having served as vice president of government and public affairs for the University of Chicago hospitals. Lavelle completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois and her post-graduate studies at the Keller School of Management.
  • Glenn “Max” McGee, Wilmette – McGee is currently Superintendent of Wilmette District 39. He previously served as Illinois State Superintendent of Schools. He began his education career working in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and completed his doctorate at the University of Chicago.
  • Lou Mervis, Danville – Mervis is currently Chairman of the Illinois Business Roundtable Education Task Force. He previously served as Chairman of the State Board of Education and is nationally recognized and respected as an advocate for education and prominent Danville businessman.
  • Glenn Poshard, Carbondale – Poshard is a veteran public servant who currently serves on the Southern Illinois University (SIU) Board of Trustees. His education career included teaching in high schools to serving as director of the Southern Illinois Educational Service Center. He has served in the Illinois Senate and the United States Congress. He completed his bachelor’s, masters and doctoral degrees at SIU.
WHO: Illinois Education Excellence Task Force
WHAT: Open Meeting
WHEN: Monday, August 29, 2005 - 6 p.m.
WHERE: James R. Thompson Center, Chicago
100 W. Randolph
Room 9-040


1. Public Participation

The Illinois Education Excellence Task Force invites public testimony on the education challenges in Illinois so that we can better prepare our children and all of Illinois to compete in the global economy.

2. Adjournment


Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777