Ginger Ostro joined Advance Illinois as Executive Director in January 2016. Ostro previously served as Chief Financial Officer of Chicago Public Schools, where she helped usher in a more equitable, student-based school funding model while responsible for financial operations of the third largest district in the country and a nearly $6 billion annual budget.
Ostro’s career has been devoted to addressing inequities in education, human services and juvenile justice. Her experience in education includes roles in K-12 and higher education. Prior to joining Chicago Public Schools, she worked in state government in a number of roles including Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget and later as Deputy Executive Director of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, where she helped strengthen the Commission’s role in helping low-income students access and complete college. While at Chicago Metropolis 2020, a non-profit organization focused on improving life in the Chicago Metropolitan region, Ostro worked on efforts to reduce youth involvement in the juvenile justice system, policies to help the formerly incarcerated, and a system to identify and intervene with young children who had been exposed to violence. She also has worked at Governors State University, helping to develop a curriculum to prepare students for work in human services and an innovative Family Development Center on the university campus to serve children from birth through 4th grade and their families.
Ostro holds a Bachelor’s degree in Politics, Economics, Rhetoric and Law from The University of Chicago and a Master’s degree in Public Policy, Health and Human Services from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.