This Year's Crain's List*

This Year's Crain's List*

Crain's annual roundup of '40 Under 40' future leaders is up, and includes some predictable names (Beth Swanson) and some interesting ones like Lupe Fiasco, Christine Justine Nagan (Kartemquin Films) and Jose Ochoa, principal of Chicago's high school for the arts. Check it out below. Anyone else who should have been on the list, like Sharkey or Potter (and of course yourself)?

About Ochoa:

Almost six years ago, Jose Ochoa interviewed for the top job at Chicago's first public high school for the arts, a dream of philanthropic heavyweights including Polk Bros. Foundation Chairman Sandra Guthman and James Mabie, partner at William Blair & Co. The job entailed fundraising; Mr. Ochoa had never asked for a dime in his life.

With what Mr. Mabie calls “a wonderfully user-friendly personality,” Mr. Ochoa has kept ChiArts' powerful board happy (35 percent of the $8 million budget comes from private donors) and has recommended new directors, including Zarin Mehta, former president and executive director of the New York Philharmonic. Next up for Mr. Ochoa: adding a creative-writing program and, Mr. Mabie predicts, fielding job offers.

About Swanson:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel will get the public praise or condemnation for how he's shaping Chicago Public Schools, but it's Beth Swanson who's in the hot seat to turn the system around. The mayor credits the education wonk with “driving reform within the city's youth-serving institutions.”
Since Mr. Emanuel took office, Ms. Swanson has been in the thick of talks with the Chicago Teachers Union over contracts, promoted school closures and championed new programs for preschools and post-high school students. Longer school days became a mantra for Mr. Emanuel after many discussions with Ms. Swanson during his campaign for mayor. “We were researching best practices and the issue came up again and again,” says Ms. Swanson, who confesses she was surprised when teachers complained.
About Nagan:
Under her guidance, Kartemquin also has strengthened fundraising and marketing. And it launched Diverse Voices in Doc, a program to mentor minority filmmakers. “We're busier and more productive than ever, but I don't think we're compromising on anything,” the Hyde Park resident says. Kartemquin releases about three documentaries annually, up from its previous average of one per year.
“She thinks about where we're going and how we get onto digital platforms,” says Gordon Quinn, who co-founded Kartemquin in 1966 and still serves as artistic director. Steve James—director of Kartemquin titles including “Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters” and the forthcoming Roger Ebert portrait “Life Itself”—says Ms. Nagan is adept at helping artists finish their work and get it out into the world.





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  • oops -- that should have been justine nagan, not christine. apologies.

  • Beth Swanson never spent a day in her life working in a classroom yet she is touted as an "education expert". She ran the after-school program at CPS and then got promoted to Budget Director. Why? She was not qualified for the position unless the main qualification was being Arne Duncan's friend. She is the product of nepotism and is little more than a professional lackey.

  • In reply to district 299 reader:

    Well, she is a CPS parent and as a parent, that works for me! Never underestimate how much parents "understand" education.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    After Ms. Swanson left CPS she was "appointed" as the Executive Director of The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation. I'm sure her connections to former CPS Board member and billionaire Penny Pritzker has a lot more to do with her clout than just being a "CPS parent". Using your logic, anyone who is a CPS parent is qualified to be on Crain's list of bourgeois "future leaders". What a pathetic joke.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Never assume a parent knows how a classroom functions or how to teach !

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    Beth Swanson likes "seeing the light go on for kids when they learn something new?" When does she see that in her job? When they learn their school has been shut down? And the idea that she was surprised that teachers did not want the longer school day shows how insulated she is. Did she even bother to ask a single teacher? I'll guess not.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    Ed, going by the content and tenor of your postings, my guess is that you're not posting here wearing your teacher hat.

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