74 Interview: With Political Headwinds Rising, Constance Jones Becomes 1st African-American Woman to Lead Chicago’s…


Last week, just a year after becoming president of Chicago’s Noble Network of Charter Schools, Constance Jones was named CEO — the first African American and the first woman to head one of the nation’s most academically successful groups of public charter schools.

Even as the number of black women leading charter school networks is beginning to tick up, Jones bears the distinction of taking over a system that — with 18 schools, 12,000 students, and a yearly budget of some $170 million — is one of the largest. Virtually all of Noble’s students are of color and come from underserved communities, yet its schools comprise 10 of the top 15 programs on Chicago Public Schools’ 2018-19 quality ratings.

Still, Jones faces some stiff headwinds. Last month, co-founder Michael…

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