SESP Alumnus Named to Chicago Board of Education

SESP Alumnus Named to Chicago Board of Education

Arnaldo RiveraNorthwestern University alumnus Arnaldo “Arnie” Rivera, a former first-grade teacher and education administrator, was recently appointed to the Chicago Board of Education by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Rivera, a 2016 convocation speaker for the School of Education and Social Policy (MS07), has extensive experience in public policy and public education. He currently serves as a senior advisor to After School Matters, a non-profit that offers Chicago teens innovative out-of-school activities in the arts, communication, sports, science and technology.

“My focus has always been, and will continue to be, on improving educational opportunities in schools today so that the district’s rapid academic success can continue into the future,” Rivera said.

Rivera began his career in education as a first-grade teacher at Walt Disney Magnet School on Chicago's north side. Since then, he has held a number of different senior roles in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and in other influential education-focused organizations.

Notably, he has twice served on negotiation teams to successfully secure labor contracts with the Chicago Teachers Union in 2012 and 2016, with the most recent agreement yielding the District’s most cost effective labor contracts in its history, while also delivering teacher raises.

“Arnie is a committed leader who has worked tirelessly to improve our schools and educational opportunities for the next generation of Chicagoans,” Mayor Emanuel said in a press release.

In addition to his master’s degree, Rivera also holds an economics degree from Northwestern. His wife teaches in CPS and his daughter attends a CPS school.

In last spring’s keynote speech to the bachelor’s degree graduates, Rivera described the challenges and joys of leaving the world of corporate banking and walking into a first-grade classroom.

“Unlike when I was in the business world, I was doing something I was passionate about when I was teaching,” he said. “I was learning every day and growing as a person.”

He also stressed the need for a new generation of determined, talented leaders in a climate where there are no easy answers for issues such as funding, testing and accountability.

“You are those future leaders, and we’re gratified to have you on the team,” he told the graduates. “I can think of no group more well qualified, more prepared and more perfect for the job of transforming education.”

Learn more about Northwestern’s master’s degree in education at the School of Education and Social Policy.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 1/3/17