A news conference is scheduled for Wednesday morning at Benito Juarez High School, Martinez’s alma mater.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot is poised to select San Antonio schools superintendent Pedro Martinez as the new chief executive of the Chicago Public Schools, according to a WTTW report.
City officials did not respond to questions about the pending announcement, but a news conference is scheduled for Wednesday morning at Benito Juarez High School, Martinez’s alma mater.
Reached late Tuesday by the Chicago Sun-Times, Martinez referred all questions to city officials.
The Sun-Times first reported late last month that Martinez, who would become the first Latino to lead the nation’s third-largest school system on a full-time basis, was emerging as a front-runner out of a group of 25 applicants.
“It is a compliment that Chicago Public Schools considers me a candidate for CEO, and it speaks well to the great work that is happening here in San Antonio,” Martinez said at the time.
“Because Chicago is my hometown — it’s where I went to school and it’s where I started my career in K-12 education — I felt it was an opportunity that should be explored. But it is still an ongoing process, and I will wait to see how it plays out. My focus continues to be on San Antonio and making sure we are supporting our students and teachers, paving the way for a strong year ahead.”
Martinez, 51, immigrated to the United States from Mexico and graduated from Juarez. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s in business administration from DePaul University.
Martinez does not have an education degree or certificate and has never held a teaching job. His K-12 education positions have exclusively been in district management.
Martinez worked at CPS from 2003 to 2009 under former CEO Arne Duncan, including serving as the district’s chief financial officer. He moved on to a deputy superintendent role in the Las Vegas district before taking the top job at another Nevada school system. Martinez has led the San Antonio district the past six years.
Hiring Martinez would be welcomed by the City Council Latino Caucus, which signed a letter in June urging Lightfoot to hire a Latino for the position.
The share of Latino students at CPS has grown from just over one-third in 2000 to nearly half the district today, making up the largest demographic group in the school system. But over those two decades, there have only been two Latino CPS CEOs — current interim CEO Jose Torres and Jesse Ruiz, who recently stepped down as deputy governor for education. Both served on a temporary basis.
Ald. Gilbert Villegas, chairman of the City Council’s Latino Caucus, said late Tuesday that it was only fitting that Martinez be named to head CPS considering about half of the student population identifies as Latinos.
“As I’ve been stating, there needs to be parity in these appointments,” said Villegas, of the 36th Ward. “I’m glad the board has selected Pedro Martinez, but there’s a long way to go. This should be a continuation of additional appointments for Latinos.”
Villegas said he was looking forward to Martinez coming back home to Chicago, adding people have said positive things about Martinez’s work in San Antonio.