Several area leaders named to Pritzker's transition teams

Several area leaders named to Pritzker's transition teams

CHICAGO — Two top University of Illinois administrators will be part of Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker's educational-policy transition committee.

Barbara Wilson, executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs for the UI system, and UI Chicago Chancellor Michael Amiridis will be part of Pritzker's "Educational Success Committee," announced Tuesday in Chicago.

It's the seventh working group created to advise the incoming administration, following others focused on agriculture, veterans, budget, equality, clean energy, and child and family health.

Pritzker's "Growing our Agricultural Economy" working group includes state Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign; Kim Kidwell, dean of the UI College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; and UI Professor Paul McNamara, director of the "AgReach" extension program for small farmers around the globe.

Carol Hays, executive director of Champaign-based Prairie Rivers Network, was named to Pritzker's "Empowering Illinois' Future" team, which will focus on a "clean-energy economy."

And the "Healthy Children and Families" committee includes Mattoon native Theresa Eagleson, executive director of the UI's Office of Medicaid Innovation in Springfield.

Just after the election, Pritzker announced that former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar, distinguished fellow at the UI's Institute of Government and Public Affairs, would be one of five co-chairs for his overall transition team.

The 35-member education working group will be co-chaired by state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, who led the fight to reform the state's school-funding formula; state Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch, chair of the House Committee on Higher Education; Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice Jackson; and Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin.

The committee includes other state legislators, school superintendents, professors and representatives of nonprofit groups, foundations, teacher unions and higher-education institutions across the state, including Illinois State University President Larry Dietz and UI alumna Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum.

Pritzker said the committee will "confront the challenges students, parents, and teachers face head on and with fierce urgency. If we want to put Springfield back on the side of working families, we must give every student the opportunities they deserve."