As the President and CEO, Heather oversees all aspects of Fund programs and operations, including strategic investments, board governance, staff management, finance, fundraising and communications. In this role, she is responsible for fostering The Fund’s existing partnerships with stakeholders, including investors, Chicago Public Schools and City Hall. She leverages these partnerships to advance strategies central to dramatically improving education for students in Chicago’s public schools.
Heather came to The Fund from Teach For America, where she served as vice president for Career Leadership Initiatives for six years. In this role, she managed teams responsible for large-scale initiatives focused on building effective human capital pipelines into teacher leadership, principalship and social entrepreneurship. This involved building relationships with national organizations, top graduate schools, local school districts and foundations interested in designing leadership pathways for the thousands of Teach For America alumni who remain in classrooms, schools and districts nationwide.
Heather began her education career working on Chicago’s West Side. After completing her master’s thesis on Umoja Student Development Corporation, a nonprofit school-community partnership based at Manley High School, she joined Teach For America and taught middle school social studies. She also worked in CPS’ Office of Planning and Development during the Arne Duncan administration. In this role, she worked across the central office and in schools on strategic planning – tying data to strategy and budgets and helping to link that work to outcomes for students.
Heather has served on several nonprofit boards and is engaged with her church. At the invitation of the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois State Board of Education, she is also a member of the newly-created Illinois School Leadership Advisory Council (ISLAC), a strategic planning group that aims to continue to strengthen leadership development and support in Illinois. Heather holds several advanced degrees, including a master’s degree in Public Service from DePaul University and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from National-Louis University. She received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science and graduated magna cum laude from Marquette University.
She is married to Brennan Young, a former Biology teacher and football coach at Farragut Career Academy and a current full-time dad. They have two sons and one daughter – Devan, Garrett and Delaney.