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Mayor Lori Lightfoot fills 10-month vacancy on Chicago Board of Education

The facade of Chicago Public Schools headquarters, with the district’s sign hanging on the wall behind windows with green silhouettes of students.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot appointed community activist Joyce Chapman to fill a long-standing vacancy on the Chicago school board.

Cassie Walker Burke / Chalkbeat

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has appointed South Side community leader Joyce Chapman to the Chicago Board of Education, ending a 10-month-long vacancy on the seven- member board. 

Chapman’s term will go from June 1 through June 30, 2023, according to a press release from the mayor’s office. She is a graduate of Chicago Public Schools and has also been involved with Pullman schools for more than two decades. 

“Joining the Chicago Board of Education is an immense honor that will allow me to serve Chicago families across the city,” Chapman said in a prepared statement. “As a board member, I will continue to use my experiences for the schools to have access to the resources needed for academic success.”  

Chapman will fill Amy Rome’s seat on the board. Rome’s last day as a board member was August 10, 2021.

The protracted vacancy on the board had recently drawn criticism, coming amid a challenging school year of elusive pandemic recovery and a leadership transition at the helm of the district. 

Chapman joins the board as the district begins gearing up for a high-stakes transition to an elected school board, a break from having a governing body appointed by politicians throughout the district’s history.

Under a bill signed last year, Chicago will begin to phase in elections for a 21-person school board starting in 2024, with some members elected and some appointed by the mayor. Lightfoot fought against the passage of the bill. The board would be fully elected by 2027. 

The newly appointed board member was the founder and president of the Pullman Community Development Corporation. She has also served as chairwoman for the Far South Community Advisory Council and president of the Gately Park Advisory Council. From 1999 to 2009, Chapman also served as the CAPS Beat Facilitator for the Chicago Police Department’s 5th District. 

“With Joyce Chapman as a member of our Board of Education, I am confident that our students will continue to have a quality education regardless of where they live in our city,” Lightfoot said in a statement.

Mauricio Peña is a reporter for Chalkbeat Chicago, covering K-12 schools. Contact Mauricio at mpena@chalkbeat.org.

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