Paul Vallas

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Paul Vallas
Paul Vallas 2018.jpg
Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools
In office
July 10, 1995[1] – June 26, 2001
Appointed byRichard M. Daley
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byArne Duncan
Personal details
Born (1953-06-10) June 10, 1953 (age 66)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Sharon Vallas
EducationWestern Illinois University (BA, MA)

Paul Gust Vallas (born June 10, 1953) is an American politician and former superintendent of the Bridgeport Public Schools and the Recovery School District of Louisiana, former CEO of both the School District of Philadelphia and the Chicago Public Schools, and a former budget director for the city of Chicago. He ran for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois in 2014 with then-incumbent Governor Pat Quinn, though the Democratic ticket was defeated by the Republican ticket, which included Bruce Rauner and Evelyn Sanguinetti.

In March 2018, Vallas announced his candidacy for Mayor of Chicago in the 2019 election.

Early life and education[edit]

Vallas was born on June 10, 1953. The grandson of Greek immigrants, Vallas grew up in the Roseland neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. He spent his teen years living in Palos Heights. He graduated from Carl Sandburg High School and attended Moraine Valley Community College and then Western Illinois University, where he received a bachelor's degree in history and political science, a master's degree in political science, and a teaching certificate.[2]

Chicago Public Schools[edit]

During his tenure as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools from 1995 to 2001, he led an effort to reform the school system, and his work was cited by President Bill Clinton for raising test scores, balancing the budget, and instituting several new programs including mandatory summer school, after school programs, and expanding alternative, charter, and magnet schools.

The position of CEO of the CPS was created by Mayor Richard M. Daley after he successfully convinced the Illinois State Legislature to place CPS under mayoral control. Vallas had previously directed the budget arm of the Illinois State Legislature and served as budget director for Daley.

2002 Illinois gubernatorial election[edit]

Following his tenure at CPS, Vallas ran for Governor of Illinois as a Democrat. Vallas placed second in the Democratic primary, losing narrowly to now-former-Governor Rod Blagojevich while running ahead of former state Attorney General Roland Burris.[3]

Philadelphia School District[edit]

Following the election, Vallas was appointed CEO of School District of Philadelphia. In this capacity, he presided over the nation's largest experiment in privatized management of schools, with the management of over 40 schools turned over to outside for-profits, nonprofits, and universities beginning in Fall 2002.

Return to Chicago[edit]

In 2005, Vallas considered challenging Blagojevich again for Illinois governor in the Democratic Primary but decided against it. He then signed a two-year contract (2007–2008) as superintendent of the Recovery School District of Louisiana. Vallas ultimately remained head of the Recovery School District through 2011.

On April 28, 2008 he appeared before the City Club of Chicago and on Chicago news shows discussing a possible run for governor in 2010.[4][5][6] In February 2009, Vallas gave an interview to Carol Marin in the Chicago Sun-Times and stated that he planned to return to Cook County, Illinois in 2009 and run as a Republican for Cook County Board president in 2010.[7]

On June 11, 2009, Vallas announced that he would not be a candidate for President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners in 2010. Vallas stated that he could not "begin a political campaign while trying to finish what he started—rebuild the school system there in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."[8]

After Haiti's 2010 earthquake, President René Préval gave the Inter-American Development Bank the mandate to work with the Education Ministry and the National Commission preparing a major reform of the Education System in a 5-year plan to reconstruct; Mr. Vallas has been working with the bank in this effort.

Bridgeport Public Schools[edit]

In 2013, Vallas became Superintendent of the Bridgeport Public Schools. On June 28, 2013, a state superior court judge ruled that Vallas did not complete a state-mandated school leadership program and was therefore not qualified to be superintendent in Connecticut. On July 17, 2013 the State Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal of the ruling and to decide if he should remain in office. This followed several months of controversy over Vallas' credentials to serve as superintendent in the state of Connecticut.[9]

2014 gubernatorial election[edit]

In November 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn tapped Vallas to be his running mate in the 2014 election, after incumbent lieutenant governor Sheila Simon chose to unsuccessfully run for Comptroller.[10]

2019 Chicago mayoral candidacy[edit]

In March 2018, Vallas formally filed to become a candidate in the 2019 Chicago mayoral election.[11] After failing to advance to the runoff, Vallas endorsed Lori Lightfoot.[12]


  1. ^ Schools Aren't Out Of Budget Woods Yet Chicago Tribune (August 20, 1995)
  2. ^ retrieved October 23, 2018
  3. ^ "IL Governor - D Primary, March 19, 2002". December 21, 2004. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  4. ^ Greg Hinz. "Vallas interested in running for Illinois guv". April 28, 2008. Crain's Chicago Business.
  5. ^ David Mendell. "Vallas "open" to run for governor in 2010". April 28, 2008. Chicago Tribune.
  6. ^ Rosalind Rossi. "Former CPS CEO considering run for governor". April 28, 2008. Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on May 2, 2008.
  7. ^ Marin, Carol (2009-02-04). "Vallas targets County Board run". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
  8. ^ John Kass. "Kass: Vallas staying put in New Orleans". June 11, 2009. Chicago Tribune.
  9. ^ Danielle Dreilinger. "Former Recovery School District superintendent Paul Vallas under attack in Connecticut". The New Orleans "Times-Picayune".
  10. ^ Moser, Whet (8 November 2013). "Paul Vallas Is With Quinn. But Why Do We Even Have a Lieutenant Governor?". Chicago magazine. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  11. ^ Former CPS CEO Paul Vallas Officially Files to Run for Mayor
  12. ^ Carlin, Jeff (13 March 2019). "EXCLUSIVE: Paul Vallas Endorses Lori Lightfoot for Chicago Mayor". WGN Radio. Retrieved 13 March 2019.

External links[edit]