SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus commends Governor J.B. Pritzker’s commitment to diversity in appointing Dr. Carmen Ayala as the superintendent of the Illinois State Board of Education, making her not only the first Latina, but the first person of color and a woman to serve as the permanent superintendent.
“Education is key to leveling the playing field for working families, preparing every child with the tools they need to move up the socioeconomic ladder,” state Rep. Lisa Hernandez said. “I’m honored to congratulate Dr. Ayala for her decades of service to our community’s young people. Given her impressive track record at our local schools in Berwyn, I couldn’t think of a better person for the job.”
Ayala has over 30 years of experience in education, most recently serving as the superintendent of Berwyn North School District 98, a highly diverse school district. As superintendent, she worked to ensure the district was culturally responsive to its student body in order to increase student engagement and equity for the different types of learning abilities. Berwyn North’s schools went from being the lowest-performing in reading and math in 2012 to showing greater growth than any neighboring district, and over performing the state average, in 2017 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing scores. The Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus hopes that Ayala will help modernize Illinois’ education system, ensuring the state meets the needs of its incredibly racially and economically diverse communities.
“As a former school counselor, I know first-hand the importance of understanding how a child’s background can affect their performance in school,” state Rep. Aaron Ortiz said. “I commend Governor Pritzker for his commitment to diversity, ensuring representation and equity for all our students.”