Chicago Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel has appointed Jesse H. Ruiz, a partner in Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP’s Corporate & Securities Practice Group, to serve as Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education. This most recent honor comes on the heels of Ruiz’s appointment to the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Ruiz joins six other new members of the Chicago Board of Education to lead the nation’s third largest school system. The Board is comprised of educators, business leaders and philanthropists who will lead the City’s efforts to reform and strengthen Chicago’s public schools. Ruiz is the only lawyer in private practice to be appointed to the city board.
The national Commission will examine the impact of school finance on educational opportunities and recommend ways to better fund schools in order to increase student achievement. Ruiz is the only private practice attorney appointed to this prestigious group. The Commission is composed of education advocates, civil rights leaders, scholars, lawyers and corporate leaders who will work to address the disparities in educational opportunities that contribute to the achievement gap and will recommend ways in which federal policies could address such disparities.
Ruiz is co-chair of Drinker Biddle’s Diversity Committee and served as Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education since 2004. He serves on the National Association of State Boards of Education Government Affairs Committee, and the National Association of Latino Elected/Appointed Officials Education Task Force. Ruiz also sits on the American Bar Association Presidential Advisory Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities; is Past Chairman of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms; and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the leading Latino litigation, advocacy and educational outreach institution in the United States. Ruiz concentrates his law practice in mergers and acquisitions and the representation of public and middle market companies.
In 2010 Ruiz was named to Hispanic Business magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential Hispanics, which honors Americans of Hispanic origin who have impacted both national and worldwide arenas in the fields of politics, business, academia media, arts, entertainment and sports. The list contains nominations made by the magazine’s writers, editors and readers.