Chicago school board vice president steps down

Sendhil Revuluri, a former teacher and longtime education advocate, has served in the role since 2019.

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Chicago Board of Education Vice President Sendhil Revuluri is resigning from his role at the end of the month.

Chicago Board of Education Vice President Sendhil Revuluri is resigning from his role at the end of the month.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Sendhil Revuluri is stepping down as vice president of Chicago’s Board of Education after three and a half years, becoming the latest of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s original school board appointments to depart.

Revuluri, a former teacher and longtime education advocate, has served as school board vice president since 2019, when Lightfoot replaced the entire board that had served under her predecessor, Rahm Emanuel.

“By appointing me to this role, she really showed trust that I would do the right thing for our young people and our city,” Revuluri said of the mayor in his departing comments Wednesday at the monthly school board meeting. “And that’s a big trust, and I have done my best to uphold it.”

This is the fourth departure this year after Lucino Sotelo and Luisiana Melendez chose to step down at the end of their terms, and Dwayne Truss was forced out by Lightfoot after his objections to a controversial plan for a new Near South Side high school.

The mayor has since appointed Michael Scott Jr., a former alderman and Lightfoot ally; Sulema Medrano Novak, an attorney; and Paige Ponder, a former nonprofit education leader.

(From left) Newly appointed Chicago Board of Education members Sendhil Revuluri, Luisiana Meléndez, Elizabeth Todd-Breland, Miguel del Valle, Dwayne Truss, Amy Rome and Lucino Sotelo look on as Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a press conference announcing the board in June 2019.

Newly appointed Chicago Board of Education members Sendhil Revuluri (from left), Luisiana Meléndez, Elizabeth Todd-Breland, Miguel del Valle, Dwayne Truss, Amy Rome and Lucino Sotelo look on as Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a press conference announcing the board in June 2019.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Only two of Lightfoot’s original seven members remain — President Miguel del Valle and Elizabeth Todd-Breland.

Revuluri said he owes “everything I have” to public education. He urged the rest of the board to uphold strong standards for the school district and keep students at the center of their work and “ahead of any adult opinions or interests.”

“When I taught, I taught kids in what from the outside may have seemed like the poorest Congressional district in the nation,” Revuluri said. “But from within, I saw that all of these kids are brilliant if we have high expectations for them, if we give them excellent instruction and we provide them with the support that they need.

“Our city, our students, our educators all need and deserve a board that listens to the community, focuses on student outcomes, sets clear goals to drive our progress, and then holds one another and our district accountable for that progress.”

Revuluri was a founding teacher at the Bronx Academy of Letters in New York City in the mid-2000s. He then worked in Chicago Public Schools’ high school teaching and learning office and later took a role at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Del Valle thanked Revuluri for his work on the district’s budget planning, helping guide changes to school ratings and working on a process for alternatives to school policing.

“I was disappointed, very much disappointed when you informed me you were moving on. But I understand, and I wish your family the best, of course,” del Valle said.

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