San Antonio ISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez hired as CEO of Chicago Public Schools


San Antonio ISD’s superintendent will trade the Alamo City for the Windy City, his home, to make history as the new leader of Chicago Public Schools system. 

Superintendent Pedro Martinez will take over as the new CEO of Chicago Public Schools, leaving behind a six-year tenure as with SAISD, the school system announced Wednesday morning during a press conference.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says Martinez will be the first Latinx CEO of the school system. 

“We need him to be successful, because if he is successful, that means our students are successful,” Lightfoot says. 


Martinez says he plans to start with Chicago Public Schools during the week of September 29. In a statement, Martinez says he will leave SAISD with a “heavy heart.”

“I will always care deeply about San Antonio ISD,” Martinez says. “I know this district will not skip a beat in its pursuit of excellence on behalf of our children.”

MySA reached out to SAISD for more information on an interim leader and the superintendent search process.

Martinez, who worked at Chicago Public Schools from 2003 to 2009 as chief financial officer, and was selected among 25 applicants. He replaces Janice Jackson who stepped down in May. 

Martinez will also move into the Chicago Public Schools begins its transition to a fully-elected school board by 2027. He says at the press conference that he is ready to work together with the community and 21-member school board amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The enemy is COVID. The enemy is the systemic racism we’ve had in our country. The enemy is poverty. There are many enemies,” Martinez says at the press conference. “We are on the same side.”

While at SAISD, Martinez helped improve the district’s grade from an F to a B in an area where over 90 percent of its students live in poverty. Recently, he is known for implementing mandatory mask mandates and vaccine mandates for employees at SAISD despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive orders banning such policies. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued SAISD again over the vaccine mandate on September 13. 

The new role is a homecoming for Martinez, who grew up as an immigrant from Mexico in the Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen and attended schools in the very system he will now lead.



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