About Advance Illinois

Motivated by the urgency that Illinois was not preparing its students to compete in a global marketplace, leaders from more than a dozen civic, philanthropic, business, and education organizations from across the state came together to found Advance Illinois in 2008 to serve as an independent, objective voice promoting a healthy education system that prepares all students for success in college and career.

Advance Illinois is positioned uniquely in Illinois to provide the continuity required to successfully pass, implement, and evaluate policy change. Advance Illinois is equity-driven, student-centered and data-focused. We identify, design, advocate for and help to implement policies that are grounded in nationally recognized best practices and then tailored to the needs of students in Illinois. Since its founding, Advance Illinois has made progress toward the following priorities for the state’s education system:

  • Recruit, develop, and empower the most effective educators
  • Set world-class expectations and provide essential supports
  • Empower local innovation in exchange for accountability and results
Board of Directors
  • John A. Edwardson
  • Chair
  • Former Chairman and CEO, CDW LLC
  • Hon. Jim Edgar
  • Chair Emeritus
  • Former Governor of Illinois
  • Ellen Alberding
  • President, The Joyce Foundation
  • Harry Berman
  • Former Executive
  • Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Lew Collens
  • President Emeritus, Illinois
  • Institute of Technology
  • Rev. K. Edward Copeland
  • Pastor, New Zion Baptist Church
  • Chair, Alignment Rockford
  • William M. Daley
  • Managing Partner and Head of U.S. Operations, Argentiere
  • Capital; Former White House Chief of Staff
  • Judy Erwin
  • Managing Director, Kivvit
  • James C. Franczek, Jr.
  • Founding Partner and President,
  • Franczek Radelet PC
  • Marin Gjaja
  • Senior Partner and Managing Director,
  • Boston Consulting Group
  • Lynda Parker
  • Assistant Principal,
  • King College Prep
  • Sylvia Puente
  • Executive Director,
  • Latino Policy Forum
  • Gene Reineke
  • Founder and President,
  • Hawthorne Strategy Group, LLC
  • Juan Salgado
  • President and CEO,
  • Instituto del Progreso Latino
  • Rob Stewart
  • Area Vice President,
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Sara R. Stoelinga
  • Sara Liston Spurlark Director,
  • The Urban Education Institute,
  • University of Chicago
  • Jason J. Tyler
  • Executive Vice President and Global Head,
  • The Institutional Group,
  • Northern Trust
  • Rebecca Wattleworth
  • Math and Science Teacher,
  • Warrensburg-Latham High School