Paul’s History with Chicago
While his work has taken him all over the world, Chicago is Paul’s home.
He was born and raised in a Greek-American household in the Roseland community on Chicago’s South Side.
Chicago is also where his career began. After a long and bumpy academic trajectory, Paul graduated from Western Illinois University and went on to immerse himself in the fiscal and economic wellbeing of the state and later the city, as Revenue and then Budget Director.
When he married his wife, Sharon, a former Police Officer in the southwest suburbs, they settled in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago where they raised their three boys.
Paul’s commitment to the city deepened further when he became the CEO of Chicago Public Schools.
A CAREER IN PROBLEM-SOLVING
"I've spent my entire career responding to requests for help in extreme crisis situations."
CRADLE TO THE CLASSROOM
as CEO of CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS
In an effort to help young mothers finish school and avoid a second pregnancy, Paul devised the successful Cradle to Classroom program that pairs each mother with a family advocate and offers on-site daycare.
“According to school records, the program has been a phenomenal success, with none of the almost 2,000 girls enrolled giving birth to a second child and a 100 percent graduation rate for girls who have completed the program.”
SDP & THE EYE INSTITUTE
as CEO of CHICAGO & PHILADELPHIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Upon learning that struggling students had also flunked their eye exams, Paul proposed a creative, symbiotic partnership between the school districts and colleges of optometry. Children received vision care and interns received pediatric clinical experiences. Students who did not pass an initial exam received a follow-up, comprehensive exam and two pairs of glasses.
“As schools CEO, he was surprised to learn that groups of students struggling academically also flunked their eye exams. Poor vision has consequences. So he set up a program to buy them glasses. Bingo.” – Chicago Editorial Board
CRISIS INTERVENTION FUND
as CEO of CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“Moreover, [Vallas] said, a tragic death can profoundly affect a school’s learning climate. Crisis intervention–from social workers and ministers to payments covering burials and living expenses– can help depressed students and distraught parents heal more quickly, he said.
‘I’ll never forget this. Remember when Dantrell Davis died?’ Vallas said. ‘Not only did the family struggle to find funds to bury the child, the board sent no official representative to the burial. That always sat with me. The degree to which we can help families bury their children who have died tragically, that’s a statement about us all being part of the same family. That’s an important statement to make.'”
A HISTORY OF HARD WORK
State of Illinois’s Executive Director, Economic and Fiscal Commission
Here Paul analyzed legislation, assessed legislative impact, and made recommendations with regard to state finances, state and local taxes, and economic development.
City of Chicago Budget Director
Paul reformed the Department of Revenue via a parking enforcement program, an impoundment program for vehicles used in crimes, and an information-sharing program with the IL Department of Revenue that assisted with state tax investigations.
CEO of Chicago Public Schools
When Paul first became CEO, CPS had a $1.2 billion projected five year deficit. During his tenure, he had six consecutive balanced budgets, a fully-funded teachers’ pension system, 78 newly constructed school buildings, and 1,900 school renovations. When he left, CPS had hundred of millions of dollars in cash reserves.
Superintendent Philadelphia Public Schools
Paul applied similar principles here and instituted long-term financial plans that resulted in $200 million allocated to classrooms and a structurally balanced budget for three consecutive years. He also established a teacher recruitment and retention program that increased applications threefold. This resulted in less than a dozen teacher vacancies in the 2005-2006 calendar year and a retention rate of 94%.
For three years, Paul was tasked with implementing and managing reform measures for the RSD, the turnaround district responsible for rebuilding, reopening, and overseeing most public schools in New Orleans after Katrina. To serve the waves of students returning to the city after the storm, they opened 22 schools and hired 500 teachers in 90 days.
Post-Earthquake Haiti & Chile School Reform
After the tragic earthquakes in both Haiti and Chile, Paul helped to not only develop a plan to build functioning school systems but to improve on pre-earthquake school system conditions.
Superintendent of Bridgeport Public Schools
Paul was recruited by the CT Commissioner and the Board of Education to manage the state of crisis in the state’s largest school district. Together, they developed and implemented a comprehensive five-year financial plan and balanced two consecutive budgets without borrowing a dime. They revitalized classroom resources by replacing a decade old textbooks, and providing smart technology for the classroom and laptops for all the high school students.
Prison Education Reform
Paul directed a team of experts at the invitation of Deputy US Attorney General Sally Yates to develop a plan to improve the adult education and occupational training program in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Paul focused on education assessments, special education, adult literacy, vocational and occupation training, and post-secondary education for 122 institutions.
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Paul Vallas Campaign Headquarters:
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