Hispanic Heritage Series: Pedro Martinez First Latino CPS CEO

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsBorn in Aguascalientes, Mexico, Pedro Martinez came to Chicago with his family at the age of 5 in search of a better life.  A proud graduate of Benito Juarez in the Pilsen community, Martinez was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college, and he chose to dedicate his life to education, eventually returning to the school system of his youth as CPS’ Chief Financial Officer from 2003 – 2009. Recently, Martinez was elected to become the first Latino CEO of Chicago Public Schools. “I am honored to join Chicago Public Schools and work with this incredible team and build upon the success to make CPS the best large school district in the country,” said Martinez. “Education is the best equalizer in society, and I will work every day to strengthen our public schools for generations to come. As an immigrant from Mexico whose roots began in Pilsen, I understand a focus on equity and commitment to engaging communities and elevating student and family voices are central to the task at hand. I want to thank the Mayor for this incredible opportunity and for believing in my vision to see all children reach their potential, regardless of their ethnic background or income level.” 

Martinez has more than 20 years of experience in the private, nonprofit and public education sectors and is an experienced, and data-driven leader with a strong financial background, an in- depth knowledge of academics, strategic planning, talent management, staff and community engagement. He holds an M.B.A. from DePaul University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also is a graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy. As the oldest of 12 children, he was first to graduate from high school and college. Martinez and his wife have two children, ages 11 and 7. He spends his free time with his family which includes frequent trips to the library where his children take out several books each week.   Prior to joining CPS, CEO Martinez served as the Superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD), where he was focused on academic excellence, talent recruitment, culture shift, stakeholder engagement, and strong fiscal management – five priorities that are closely aligned to the CPS 5-year vision. Prior to his time at SAISD, Mr. Martinez served as Superintendent in Residence for the Nevada Department of Education, where he was responsible for advising the Governor’s office and the State Superintendent of Instruction on education policy decisions. And before that, he served as superintendent for the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

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