Ann Whalen

Policy Director

Ann Whalen leads the policy team at Advance Illinois. Prior to joining Advance Illinois, Ann was the Associate Chief of Academics at Denver Public Schools, responsible for leading central Academic teams, to ensure that every day, every Denver Public Schools’ student received a rigorous, standards-based learning experience that prepares him or her for college and career. In this role, she oversaw the teams responsible for academic strategy; curriculum and instruction; professional learning; accountability, assessment and evaluation; library services, extended learning, education technology and competency based learning.

From 2015-2017, Ann served under Arne Duncan and John King as the Acting Assistant Secretary in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the US Department of Education, where she led and coordinated policy for programs designed to assist state and local education agencies with improving the achievement of elementary and secondary school students. As Acting Assistant Secretary, she managed a team that administered over $22.3 billion, with more than 80 grant programs designed to ensure equal access to a high-quality education for all preschool, elementary and secondary children, particularly the economically disadvantaged. From 2014 to 2015, Ann served as Director of Policy at Education Post. Prior to that, Ann served in various roles at the US Department of Education, first as a Special Assistant in the Office of the Secretary from 2009 to 2010, then as the Director of the Implementation and Support Unit from 2010 to 2014.

Before she joined the Obama Administration, Ann served as Deputy to the Chief Education Officer at Chicago Public Schools from 2006 to 2009 and as the Deputy Director of Special Initiatives for the Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools from 2003 to 2006. From 2002 to 2003, she was a Project Administrator at the Chicago Department of Planning and Development. Ann was born and raised in Chicago and lives with her family on the city’s west side.