Chicago school board Vice President Sendhil Revuluri steps down after three years

Chicago Board of Education Vice President Sendhil Revuluri announces he’s stepping down.
Vice president Sendhil Revuluri, left, announced that he would step down from Chicago Board of Education before the end of his term. (Mauricio Peña / Chalkbeat)

Sendhil Revuluri is stepping down from the Chicago Board of Education at the end of the month, opening a spot for another mayoral appointee.

In announcing his departure Wednesday, Revuluri lauded fellow board members for their work navigating the pandemic and the current road to recovery. At the same time, the board vice president rang alarms about the financial solvency of the district and its future as it begins transitioning to an elected school board in 2025.

“We have to be honest about the facts,” Revuluri said. “Sometimes we have to make hard choices. We have to take a system-level view because higher responsibility is to follow 300,000-plus students across the city and we can’t be bound by ideology that can’t be practically executed.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot will be tasked with filling the vacancy, but it’s unclear whether she will fill the position before the mayoral election in February. The last time a board member stepped down, Lightfoot left the seat vacant for 10 months.  

Lightfoot appointed Joyce Chapman this past June to replace Amy Rome, who had stepped down in August 2021. The protracted vacancy drew criticism amid a challenging school year of elusive pandemic recovery and a leadership transition, as then-CEO Janice Jackson stepped down. 

In July, Lightfoot ousted school board member Dwayne Truss, whose term ended in June, leaving three vacancies on the board. Truss said he was initially asked to stay for another term but that changed after he criticized plans for a new Near South high school.

The mayor appointed Michael Scott Jr., a former alderman and longtime City Hall ally, Sulema Medrano Novak, a trial lawyer, and Paige Ponder, a former district employee and former CEO of One Million Degrees, an education organization focused on supporting community college students, to fill the openings. 

Fellow board members thanked Revuluri, a management director of strategic development at an entrepreneurial investment firm, for his work on the board.

During his remarks on Wednesday, Revuluri thanked students, parents, and educators in the face of so many challenges in recent years. He also lauded board members past and present for their commitment to public education. He emphasized that board members needed to keep students at the center of decision-making.

Revuluri’s contribution has been felt since day one, said board President Miguel del Valle.

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Revuluri’s forceful advocacy is rooted in his teaching experience and being a Chicago native, del Valle added. He also thanked the outgoing vice president for his work on school safety, CPS’s budget, and the district’s accountability system. 

In June 2019, he was appointed vice president of the board by Lightfoot. 

In a statement, Lightfoot called Revuluri a “dedicated and thoughtful public servant, committed to governing the district toward equity and excellence” who strengthened the school board and district. 

Lightfoot said one of her priorities was collaborating with CPS, the board, and community partners to “ensure our students, teachers, and staff have the support and resources they need to ensure our young people receive a high quality education that sets them up for lifelong success.”

Revuluri was a founding teacher at the Bronx Academy of Letters in the South Bronx, New York City. He also worked in Chicago Public Schools’ Office of High School Teaching and Learning and at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He served on a local school council, according to the school board website.

This story was updated to include a statement from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

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

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