Speakers & Honorees


Keynote Speaker: Karen Lewis

President Karen GJ Lewis was elected president of the 30,000-member Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) on June 11, 2010. A member of CTU since 1988, Mrs. Lewis taught high school chemistry in the Chicago Public Schools for 22 years. She believes that students, parents, teachers and community members are educators’ natural allies. Her goal is to truly improve Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and stand firmly against the privatization of public education. The only National Board Certified Teacher to lead a U.S. labor union, she also serves as executive vice president to the Illinois Federation of Teachers and as vice president of the American Federation of Teachers. Karen is a product of Chicago Public Schools, having attended Kozminski Elementary School and Kenwood High School, until accepting early admission at Mount Holyoke College. She later transferred to Dartmouth College, where she earned the distinction of being the only African American woman in the class of 1974. Mrs. Lewis comes from a family of educators -- her father, mother and husband, John Lewis, who is now retired, all were CPS teachers.