Former District Leader at Chicago Public Schools will Focus on Designing Equitable Systems for Young People
Chicago Beyond, an impact investor that works to ensure all young people have the opportunity to live a free and full life, today announced that Dr. Maurice Swinney has joined the team as Chief Innovation Officer. Swinney is a former teacher and principal and previously served as Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) first-ever Chief Equity Officer and Interim Chief Education Officer.
“Maurice is a driven and energetic leader who does not back away from reimagining what is possible for Chicago’s young people,” said Liz Dozier, Founder & CEO of Chicago Beyond. “Maurice has an incredible background, having more than 20 years of experience inside of schools and advancing equity at the district level for the third largest school district in the country. He is the perfect person for this role at Chicago Beyond, where we are working towards designing more equitable systems that work for all young people and their communities.”
Swinney’s career started as a teacher and principal in his home state of Louisiana, and he later moved to Chicago in 2012 with the hope of working alongside those changing the narrative for students of color. In his 10 years with CPS, Swinney served as a high school principal, Chief Equity Officer, and as Interim Chief Education Officer. His work in each role has shared a common foundation of equity to create student well-being and academic outcomes across all parts of the city. As the head of Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Equity, Swinney and his team created the district’s first-ever Equity Framework to guide CPS district and school leaders, staff, and community members as agents of change in addressing complex equity issues. Using the framework, Swinney helped direct more than $150 million in equity-based funding to schools in historically underserved communities, created powerful racial equity-based professional learning experiences for school leaders, and revised more than 20 Chicago Board of Education policies to be more inclusive of stakeholder experiences.
“When I thought about who in Chicago is breaking the mold to reach and support Black and Brown young people and organizations in our city, Chicago Beyond truly stood out,” said Maurice Swinney. “I am very excited to join my fellow former principal, Liz, and the Chicago Beyond team to continue building on the momentum they have created within Chicago’s communities. Chicago Beyond has the system experience to really disrupt the way philanthropy operates to create more impact for young people in our city and beyond.”
In this new role, Swinney will focus on innovative designs that create more equitable systems to positively impact young people and communities. Since Chicago Beyond’s launch in 2016, the organization has invested in hyperlocal organizations and supported local community leaders while addressing systems that are not designed to work for all young people. Examples of this work include efforts such as the Healing-Centered Framework co-designed with Chicago Public Schools; a visitation pilot program at Cook County Jail; addressing research equity through Why Am I Always Being Researched? and more. Swinney joining Chicago Beyond will allow them to accelerate their efforts and allow the team to collectively continue envisioning a more equitable city for all young people, regardless of their zip code.
Swinney holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership/School Principalship from Xavier University of Louisiana. He earned his Ed.D. in Public School Administration with a concentration in Superintendency from Oral Roberts University.