Simon Hess and Stacy Beardsley to Lead Turnaround Efforts at Low-Performing Schools Through ChicagoRise

May 29, 2008

Chicago, IL (May 16, 2008) – Chicago International Charter School (CICS) and NewSchools Venture Fund are pleased to announce the addition of Simon Hess and Stacy Beardsley to ChicagoRise, a new nonprofit education organization that will manage the turnaround of low-performing public schools in Chicago.

Simon Hess joins ChicagoRise as the chief executive officer. Stacy Beardsley will serve as the chief academic officer. Together, Hess and Beardsley have more than twenty years of experience in the education arena.

“We are thrilled to have Simon and Stacy join our team,” said Elizabeth Purvis, executive director of CICS. “Under their leadership, ChicagoRise will move forward to provide public school students more and better opportunities for a top-notch education.”

CICS is partnering with the San Francisco-based NewSchools Venture Fund to form ChicagoRise, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chicago International that will manage “turnaround” schools. These schools, with extended histories of low performance, will be managed in a way that seeks to dramatically improve results for students. ChicagoRise will seek to manage turnaround schools as part of Chicago Public Schools’ Renaissance 2010, an initiative designed to create more high quality educational options across Chicago. Plans are under way for two elementary schools to be run by ChicagoRise in September 2009, with more to come in the future.

Hess joined ChicagoRise from Gordon Tech High School in Chicago where he has served as principal since 2006. He also held positions in the Boston public school system for eight years. Beardsley is the previous director of the North Kenwood/Oakland campus of the University of Chicago Charter School. She is a former eighth grade teacher and served as an administrator at St. Malachy Elementary School in Chicago for six years. Both Hess and Beardsley will begin fulltime with ChicagoRise in July.

About the Chicago International Charter School

Chicago International Charter School (CICS) is one of the leading charter school networks in the state and the nation. As the largest charter school in Illinois, CICS serves 6,500 students on 11 neighborhood campuses throughout the city of Chicago. The mission of CICS is to provide, through innovation and choice, a rigorous college-preparatory education that meets the needs of today’s student. For more information on CICS, visit

About NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools Venture Fund is a national nonprofit venture philanthropy firm that seeks to transform public education – particularly for underserved students – by supporting education entrepreneurs and connecting their work to systems change. Over the last 10 years, NewSchools has raised more than $125 million and supported more than 40 nonprofit and for-profit organizations. These organizations have made a significant impact on the educational opportunities available to thousands of low-income students in cities across the country, including New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Oakland, California. For more information on NewSchools Venture Fund, visit

Media Contacts:

RJ McMahon
Chicago International Charter School
(312) 651-5014
[email protected]

Jeff Orschel
Fleishman-Hillard, Inc.
(312) 751-4197
[email protected]