Jaime Guzman accepted a position on the Chicago District 299 school board on Jan. 11, filling the vacancy left by former member Jesse Ruiz. Guzman was also elected as the District 299 board vice president on Jan. 27.
Throughout his career Guzman has held positions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. He is currently executive director of the Taproot Foundation, which connects social change organizations and other not-for-profits with skilled volunteers who share their expertise pro bono.
Guzman has an extensive career in education, holding positions at the elementary, secondary, and college levels. He has been a bilingual teacher with Teach For America, where he went on to hold the position of program director for the nonprofit’s Chicago division. Guzman was also employed at Chicago Public Schools as a teacher at Kanoon Magnet School, and later in the Office of New Schools, where he managed the authorization of new public schools. He has also served as chief advisor to the City Colleges of Chicago Board of Trustees and as regional director for education at the National Council of La Raza.
Guzman replaces Ruiz, who stepped down from the CPS board in December and was appointed to chair the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners. Ruiz served on the IASB board since 2011. Prior to that, he chaired the Illinois State Board of Education.
Guzman is the latest member to join the IASB board. In 2015, seven new members were seated on the board, including Mark Christ (Southwestern), Dennis Inboden (Wabash Valley), Carla Joiner-Herrod (West Cook), June Maguire (Lake County), David Rockwell (Blackhawk), Thomas Ruggio (DuPage), and Denis Ryan (South Cook).
IASB President Phil Pritzker (North Cook) personally welcomed Guzman, adding: “The Board of Directors welcome the appointment of Jaime Guzman to represent CPS on our eclectic mix of local board members from around the state.”
“As a former teacher and administrator with great academic and real-life credentials in education, Jaime will arrive on day one with a special perspective, I believe, which will add to the engaging debate we have underway on how to bolster excellence in local school governance supporting quality public education,” Pritzker said. “Mr. Guzman succeeds a tremendous public servant in Jesse Ruiz; someone who brought value and wisdom to our deliberations. I am confident that Jaime will similarly bring a high level of engagement for our special mission,” he added.